Meeting student demand both on campus and at the beach

Submitted by Virginia Weir, Assistant Director of Advancement Communications on March 13, 2012

The residential experience is a critical component of today’s college student’s experience–perhaps more now than ever before—and Fairfield University has made it a priority to respond to the needs and interests of our students when it comes to housing choices. Following are some of the major achievements of just this past year.

On campus

Student arriving on campus in September were welcomed into a new apartment building in the Village, a new residence hall in the Quad, and the completely renovated Dolan Hall offering apartment-style living to upperclassmen at the north end of campus. And with the opening of the renovated former Jesuit residence as a residence hall last year, Fairfield has addressed overcrowding while also offering more independent, diverse, and functional living options for students. With these options, all juniors can now be accommodated in townhouses or apartments  on campus rather than in traditional residence halls.

 

Off campus

Each year the University receives many questions from students, parents, and alumni about the future of Fairfield University seniors living at the beach. The goal each year is to meet student demand to the greatest extent possible. “While that number will change each year, it is safe to say that despite rumors to the contrary, beach living for seniors is alive and well at Fairfield. More to the point, the beach should be viewed as one of  several living options we are now able to provide as part of our diverse menu of housing choices available to our students,” says Thomas Pellegrino, vice president for Student Affairs.

The number of juniors that applied to live off campus for the upcoming academic year was just over 300. This number represents the lowest in Fairfield’s history by a considerable margin. While there are various reasons for this, surveys this past fall indicated that more juniors actually ranked on-campus housing over beach living as their number-one preference for senior year housing. “I think this speaks to the fact,” said Pellegrino “that we are now offering a desirable set of living options to meet a diverse array of interests and needs.”

In February, the Office of Residence Life was pleased to notify those students who applied to live off campus that Fairfield was able to accommodate all Off-Campus Boarder applications that were entered in this year’s lottery.

A new component of next year’s beach living for seniors will be the implementation of Build-a-Beach House. The Build-a-House program, which has been in place on campus for several years, is a living and learning initiative aimed at juniors and seniors that provides the opportunity to live in thematic housing. United in their common theme, students in these communities create programs to raise awareness of these themes for our campus community.

 

Build-a-Beach House arose in response to requests from student leaders in FUSA and IRHA who wanted something similar to the on-campus program for students desiring to live off campus. This new program gives preference to students interested in developing positive, facilitated living and learning programs at the beach. Twenty three students already have plans for themed housing at the beach next year.

Sophomore Residential Colleges

This November, Student Affairs brought students, faculty, and administrators together to ask their opinions on the size and impact of the current sophomore residential college program. Based directly on the feedback, Student Affairs reduced the program from five residential colleges to three for 2012-13. Under this new configuration about 60% of sophomores will voluntarily participate in the three residential college offerings: Ignatian Residential College in Loyola Hall, Service for Justice in the all-new 70 McCormick Road, and Creative Life in the newly renovated 42 Bellarmine Road.

These many steps, along with an expanding array of housing options being made available to graduate students for next year, are points of strength and growth for the University. Fairfield believes that the residential options and opportunities offered—on campus and off—now surpass most of the University’s competitor institutions. Both in and outside the classroom, there are many achievements to celebrate on campus!

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