With a new year of changes beginning at Hood, there will be an even bigger change coming this fall. Residence Life will be making adjustments for incoming first-year students as well as upperclassmen. Matthew Troutman, the new Director of Residence Life, said.
First-Year Housing will be a new highlight on campus for incoming students. Two dorm halls, Memorial and Smith Hall, will be specifically only for first-year students and each floor will be separated by gender,
With this new housing plan, Troutman said, “it can impact retention and just success of the student academically.
Troutman, who was hired in the summer of 2015, said this decision was based on research and best practices as well as from benchmarking peer institutions.
“The college has 15 peer institutions, we called all of those institutions and 11 out of the 15 schools currently have a First-Year model,” Troutman continued.
This housing change will allow for certain programs designed to help the success of new students.
The remaining three residence halls: Shriner, Coblentz, and Meyran, will be for upperclassmen. Another change for residents will be the residents is the opening of Shriner Hall to male students.
“We will keep two floors for female students. We have students that want it, need it, for religious purposes,” Troutman said.
These new aspects of housing change have been a mixed review for students on campus. Troutman said that he “also heard from some people that you would not know that it is a female building anyway because there is so many males in the building.”
For Troutman, he said that if it “gender right now is on the forefront, but not everyone is thinking about it in the same way and we are definitely not as society thinking about it in the ways that we think about race.”
Troutman says that these new aspects will be a definitely change and it may take time to get used to. “I think we have already heard feedback from people like ‘you’re changing a tradition’,” Troutman said regarding Policies for Dollars.
Polices for Dollars is an event specifically for freshmen as each dorm building on campus goes head to head to win the pink spoon and bragging rights for the year.
“I love it [Policies for Dollars]. This was my first year. It was one of my favorite things. I want to keep it, I think we can tweak it and figure out ways to do it,” Troutman said.
Troutman would like to advocate keeping Policies for Dollars and mentioned that he still wants each hall to do the event including upperclassmen.
“People love it too much to get rid of it,” Troutman concluded.
Another impact that will be coming to Residence Life is mixed-gender housing. A man and woman can choose to live together.
“We would never administratively assign people of the opposite sex together, two will always be two people that know each other and are choosing it together,” Troutman said.
With this availability open to students, it would help the transgender students as well.
In the recent housing survey, “the vast majority support it, even if they wouldn’t necessarily select it themselves,” Troutman concluded.
There will also be a change in the room selection process for 2016- 2017.
Instead of various days of students to select their living situation, room selection will be held on one day on a weekend.
“I wanted it to be on a day where there was no classes. I don’t want people to have to feel like they have to miss a class or find a proxy because they are in class,” Troutman said.
Troutman thinks it sets the right message; that we “are an academic institution and you need to go to class.”
Many RAs were shocked to hear about the change from three days to one day, however, Troutman says that we will be able to space it out and have it be organized and people will know what they are doing.
For Troutman and staff, they have been discussing the process for room selection. Many ideas have been thrown around; for instance, other universities, like West Virginia University and Lycoming College, use G.P.A as a way for students to select rooms.
Room selection for 2016- 2017 will be on April 24, 2016.