The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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One step away
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Freshmen to receive on-campus living priority


Tanner Garza — THE BATTALION

In the past, dorm assignments were dictated by seniority, but freshmen will now be given the first priority to live on campus.

Upperclassmen may find it harder to secure a dorm room on campus next fall, as Texas A&M tries new housing methods to accommodate the rising numbers in its freshman classes.
Incoming freshmen will have on-campus living priority starting Fall 2015. The new residence life policy is expected to cut the number of on-campus upperclassmen in half, as university officials hope the move prompts more freshmen to live on campus.
Jeffrey Wilson, associate director of the Department of Residence Life, said the solution to the increasingly larger freshman classes was discussed between his department, interim university president Mark Hussey, provost Karan Watson and other campus officials.
Prior to the departure of Lt. Gen. Joe Weber, former vice president for student affairs, A&M was moving toward a freshman requirement to live on campus, Wilson said, but that decision has since changed.
“The decision was made that [on-campus living was] not going to be a freshmen requirement, so freshmen still have a choice, but we wanted to increase the number of freshmen available to live on campus and the term ‘freshmen priority’ was coined from that meeting,” Wilson said.
Carol Binzer, administrative and support services director in the Department of Residence Life, said in the past several years A&M has had more students wanting to live on campus than the university could accommodate, another reason for giving freshmen priority. This year, residence hall applications closed early because they had so many students apply, Binzer said.
“This year, after we closed, we still had 2,500 to 3,000 people who said, ‘Please let me know if housing opens again because I would really like to apply,’” Binzer said.
Timothy Broderick, Residence Hall Association president and poultry science senior, said dorm assignments in the past were dictated by seniority. Now freshmen will be given the opportunity to live on campus first, which means upperclassmen will not be guaranteed a room, Broderick said.
“This will likely see our upperclassmen numbers drop from 2,500 to 1,200,” Broderick said.
Binzer said students who are upset should be aware there are on- campus apartments specifically for upperclassmen, such as the Gardens Apartments near the engineering building area. Mentors, residential advisors or leaders in certain associations will have reserved spaces in campus residence halls.
Broderick said there are several options available to deal with the decrease of upperclassmen living on campus. One choice would be to allow the longest-tenured students to have priority after freshmen. Or, sophomores may have the next choice in priority in order to keep a closer span between class years for students living on campus.
Wilson said freshmen priority might be a problem for the next couple years, but only until renovations of the Corps dorms and west campus housing are completed. Wilson said A&M is working toward a 2017 goal of increasing dorm availability to about 8,000 freshmen along with room for upperclassmen.
For the next couple of years, A&M anticipates about 10,200 freshmen, Wilson said. Once the students are accepted to the university, Wilson said the Department of Residence Life is working toward offering housing to 80 percent of the freshmen, including cadets.
Broderick said the Residence Hall Association is gathering feedback from students so it can help meet the needs of current and incoming freshmen.
Broderick said living on campus as a freshman helps students more easily adapt to college and perform better academically. Living on campus will allow students to take full advantage of the amenities such as free tutors, educational support, health services and much more, Broderick said.
Applications for freshmen dorm assignments started last week. Binzer said the first batch of admissions letters have gone out and said she recommends freshmen file their housing application as soon as they are admitted because applications have traditionally closed early.

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