Students respond to new themed on-campus housing

NATALIE MOONEY; Mast TV Producer; mooneynr@plu.edu

In our last issue, The Mast looked at the changes being made for Stuen Hall for the 2017-2018 school year. Stuen Hall will be themed around Diversity, Justice and Sustainability, and every wing will be a Residential Learning Community (RLC). These RLCs include Students of Color, First in the Family and Environmental and Social Justice (ESJ). Following up on these changes, students told The Mast what they thought about these changes and what impact the changes might have on them during the room selection event April 5 and 6.

Current Stuen residents are expressing mixed feelings on the changes being made for next year.

While many are expressing excitement about the new RLCs, many also say they feel displaced and that they will not fit into any of the learning communities, which will impact where they choose to live next year. The importance of learning communities and their value has also been a hot topic of discussion among residents.

First-year Sophie Schroeder said she did not think the changes were fair to   returning Stuen and Ordal residents as it makes it harder because there’s twice the amount of people trying to get into one dorm than usual.

First-year Katie Sinclair agreed with this, saying that many Stuen residents were upset that they won’t be able to live in Stuen again next year.  “There are a lot of the [RLCs] that don’t apply to me personally,” she said. “That has been a little frustrating. It’s a hard situation because I do agree with a lot of the diversity things that they’re trying to do.”

Many residents are pleased with the changes. Junior Katherine Nakasone said, “I think [the Students of Color RLC] is a good opportunity to connect with          other students of color, learn about people’s different backgrounds and see how they  relate to their personal histories.”

Likewise, first-year Gina Snyder said she was excited to live in the ESJ wing next year. After living in the Social Action and Leadership wing this year, Snyder is looking forward to doing more related to environmental justice.

First-year Ginger Burke agreed with this change, expressing a “love for the new changes.”

Other students expressed ideas and  concerns about the possibility of the RLCs limiting the opportunity for students to form communities on their own.

First-year Danielle Botts said that while she understood the reasoning behind the creation of these RLCs, she thought that creating communities without structured halls was just as important. She said, “ I have friends who are English literature  majors, or they’re studying physics, or they’re [striving] to be a doctor, or they’re in ROTC. It’s a very diverse floor and a diverse community of people I wouldn’t have met if I had lived in a [community] that was more secluded.”

First-year Mackenzie Davidson echoed these sentiments, expressing how a naturally occurring community can be full of diverse people and creates a safe environment, and by creating more RLCs this element of naturally occurring communities may go away.

The room selection process for those returning to on-campus housing for next year has now completed.

More information about on-campus housing is available at www.plu.edu/residential-life/. 🅼

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