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King House frosh move on and away

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Monday, November 10, 2008

At 8 a.m. on a Wednesday morning early last month, movers knocked on William Trinh ’12 and Greg Bergeron’s ’12 dorm room in King House. They were there to move Trinh and Bergeron, two of the eight freshmen who were placed in King House due to a shortage in housing, to a traditional freshman unit in Bronson House.

The Office of Residential Life was forced this year to find temporary housing for freshmen due to over-enrollment. Most of these first-years were housed in lounges and kitchens in freshman dorms, but the eight freshmen in King House were placed completely outside of freshman units, said Richard Bova, senior associate dean and director of Residential Life. All eight have now been moved to traditional freshman housing.

ResLife has moved a total of 27 students, including upperclassmen and the eight freshmen in King House, from temporary housing into permanent assignments. These permanent rooms have opened up because of students who take leaves of absence halfway through the semester, Bova said. ResLife is hoping to have almost all students currently living in unconventional dorm situations in permanent housing by mid-year, he added.

Trinh said he and a few of the other eight freshmen living in King House were happy to move to freshman dorms. Keeney Quadrangle provides a social atmosphere more accommodating to first-years, he said. In fact, he added, the only downside of the move to Keeney was the fact that their kitchen and laundry room were now farther away.

But a few of the eight, including Bergeron, would have preferred to stay in King House. “It’s like going from a nice little house to something that is analogous to a big hotel. … It doesn’t have any kind of homey feel to it,” he said.

“I had nicer bathrooms and I didn’t have to hear partying,” said Bergeron, whose room in King House had a fireplace and was much more spacious than a Keeney double.

Bergeron said that at the beginning of the year he was a little concerned about being housed outside traditional freshman socializing areas, but he quickly grew to like King House. The permanent King House upperclassmen were welcoming and always willing to answer questions, he added.

Moving into freshman units halfway through the semester hasn’t been a breeze for the eight freshmen. At the beginning of the year it’s easy, Bergeron said, because everyone is trying to make new friends, but “it’s a slightly different situation when you’re trying to worm your way into cliques” after they’ve already formed.

ResLife has attempted to make the transition smoother by notifying Residential Peer Leaders if they had a new student moving into their unit. “We ask them to introduce themselves, put them on listservs and make introductions where appropriate,” said Natalie Basil, associate director of residential life.

Bergeron and Trinh agreed on one matter: The task of moving all their belongings once again was “very inconvenient.” Basil said students who were being moved were given options for moving times. But Bergeron and Trinh said they don’t remember getting a choice – their moving day was on the morning of one of Bergeron’s midterms.

In addition to scrounging up housing for the 30 extra freshmen, ResLife was also forced to convert lounges and kitchens into rooms for 36 upperclassmen in dorms such as Vartan Gregorian Quad and Buxton, Goddard, Harkness and Marcy Houses, leaving the residents of these dorms without lounges and kitchens.

There haven’t been many complaints from permanent residents of the dorms, according to Bova. The students living in a kitchen in Goddard were recently relocated. Drew Madden ’10, a resident of Goddard, said he hadn’t minded the kitchen being occupied and hasn’t seen many of his neighbors using the newly opened kitchen.

Nevertheless, Bova said ResLife has made it their “top priority” to move students out of kitchens and lounges as soon as possible so that these public spaces can be utilized.

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