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40 undergrads reassigned rooms after Walker Hall converted to graduate housing

A hallway with red and white walls and grey linoleum floors.
A hallway in Yeh College.
Jean Shin / The Daily Princetonian

Undergraduate students who drew into Walker Hall were alerted via email on July 25 that they would be reassigned to other rooms across campus. According to the email from Associate Director of Student Housing Angie Rooney, Walker Hall “is being re–purposed and will no longer be used to house Undergraduate Students in the fall term.” Walker will now house graduate students.

In an email to The Daily Princetonian, University spokesperson Ahmad Rizvi wrote that "larger–than–usual numbers of graduate students renewing their housing contracts for the coming academic year contributed to the need to utilize Walker for graduate students.” The decision to convert Walker was made in July, three months after room draw concluded in April.


Rizvi emphasized that converting Walker to graduate housing was necessary to grant a housing spot for every graduate student that applies by the April housing deadline.

The need to convert Walker to graduate housing comes during a decade–long drought in new graduate housing construction. No new graduate housing has opened since the opening of the Lakeside Apartments and Townhomes in 2014. In the same period, the University constructed eight new residential halls for undergraduates as part of New College West and Yeh College. Housing was one of the key demands of union organizers as part of a major drive this spring in which a majority of graduate students signed union cards.

Walker Hall, which was part of First College until it was converted into upperclass housing last year, was first occupied in 1930, with 33 rooms capable of housing up to 50 students.

According to housing data, all but three rooms — two doubles and one quad — in Walker were drawn in the spring, aligning with the University’s statement that 40 undergraduate students were reassigned to other rooms. The University emphasized that students will be reassigned to new rooms with their roommates or draw groups whenever possible.

Yet some students’ room type seem to have changed as well, Kien Nguyen ’25 spoke with the ‘Prince’ about his experience being reassigned from Walker to Scully Hall, and said that housing was unresponsive and offered him no say in where he would be reassigned.

“After sending a reply [to Housing’s July 25th email], as well as a follow–up email to that reply, I did not get a response back from [housing] until August 7th simply stating that I had been assigned a room,” Nguyen said.


Nguyen, who drew into a single in Walker, was reassigned by Housing to a double in Scully with a random roommate. To find out who his new roommate was, Nguyen had to send another email to Housing asking for their name.

“It was difficult working with Housing, as they provided frustratingly little details,” Nguyen said. “We were simply given a room and expected to sign the contract.”

The need for extra graduate housing may include delays on housing projects elsewhere on campus. As part of its Meadows Neighborhood development in West Windsor Township across Lake Carnegie, the University has been constructing Meadows Graduate Housing since 2021, though it will not be ready for occupancy until Spring 2024. When completed, Meadows Graduate Housing will provide 379 additional housing units for graduate students. In comparison, both New College West and Yeh house about 500 undergraduate students.

Meadows Graduate Housing was originally scheduled to open in Fall 2023 but was pushed back to Spring 2024 in early 2023. The Room Draw 2023–24 guide for graduate students states, “As scheduled the Meadows Graduate Housing Complex is under construction and therefore will not be included in this spring’s Room Draw process.”

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Rizvi denied that delays to Meadows’ construction affected the decision to house graduate students in Walker Hall.

The repurposing of Walker comes following a period of change for the hall as it is one of the only remaining buildings from the First (besides Feinberg Hall) and sits next to the future Hobson College site. 

Jack Anderson ’23, who lived in Walker for the 2022–23 school year, noted in an interview with the ‘Prince’ that while construction went on around the building, he never had issues with noise or dust from construction. However, Anderson added that his room faced the inner courtyard and 1903 Hall, not the Hobson construction site itself.

“The rooms across the hall from mine had windows open directly to the Hobson construction site, so I think the people who lived there were probably much more inconvenienced,” Anderson said.

Anderson is a former associate Podcast editor for the ‘Prince.’

Walker Hall also houses practice and meeting rooms for student groups, including the Footnotes acapella group. Rizvi wrote to the ‘Prince’ that undergraduate students will retain prox access to Walker despite the conversion to graduate housing so that these groups can access their spaces.

The changes in housing were not communicated to these student groups, according to Jack Green ’24, President of the Footnotes. Upon being informed of the closure of Walker to undergraduate residential occupancy, Green wrote in a message to the ‘Prince’: “This is the first I’m hearing of this — yikes!”

Students who were reassigned from Walker to other rooms across campus still have the option to coordinate room swaps with other students. Upperclassmen may move into their dorm rooms beginning Saturday, Sep. 2nd.

Ryan Konarska is a contributing News writer and an associate Data editor for the ‘Prince.’

He can be reached at ryankonarska[at]