[Fresh] residence life interview

Kelly Eastland (kelly.eastland@villanova.edu)
Wed, 12 Feb 2003 10:37:33 -0500

Interview with Marie Schauder, Assistant Director, Office of Residence Life

Fresh@News: In a few weeks, the class of 2006 will begin selecting their rooms and
roommates for next year. Are the students thinking about this already?

Ms. Schauder: This process has been on the minds of the freshmen class for months. Who to
live with is a big decision for a college student, and this topic is all over the residence
halls right now.

Fresh@News: So how does the process work?

Ms. Schauder: The first step is for the students to find a roommate for next year.
Sometimes they stay with their current roommate or they find someone else with whom they
feel they may be more compatible.

Fresh@News: What kind of issues come up at this stage of the game?

Ms. Schauder: Mostly it works out, but there are some painful moments too. Sometimes one
half of a roommate team wants to stay together, and the other wants to live with someone
else. There can be hurt feelings and awkwardness.

Fresh@News: Any thoughts or suggestions to pass along as far as finding a roommate?

Ms. Schauder: Usually the students start by looking at the students who live on their
hall. This is a good strategy, but often it makes just as much sense to look for
connections in their classes. One of the big conflicts that comes up between roommates has
to do with study habits, so finding someone who approaches academic work in a similar
fashion is often a good way to find a roommate.

Fresh@News: Suppose the student just can't find a roommate?

Ms. Schauder: That happens all of the time, for a variety of reasons. Usually about 25% of
the class does not pick a roommate at all. They just go into the process by themselves and
we assign them a roommate (as we did for this year). Of course, they will meet that
roommate this spring and have an opportunity to get to know the person. Often enough the
groups who get put together by us work out really well and stay together in the future.

Fresh@News: What happens next?

Ms. Schauder: The next step is that the students get a preference sheet with their lottery
number. The housing lottery information will be sent to students after Spring Break.
Students fill out the sheet indicating what buildings they want and who they want to live
with. We look at the sheets and house each group according to the lowest lottery number in
that group, and then try to fill their requests as best we can. As you can imagine,
sometimes people try to find ways to beat the system, but since we have been doing this for
awhile we've found ways to prevent most of the abuses.

Fresh@News: So what are the most popular residence halls for the class of 2006?

Ms. Schauder: As in any real-estate operation, the three most important factors are,
"Location, location, and location." A lot of first year students want to live next year in
the "Quad." These two buildings, Sullivan and Sheehan, are on our main campus and house 800
sophomore students (about half of the class). Actually the rooms in these buildings are not
as nice as some of our other housing, but sophomores really enjoy being in the center of
things. If they have a class in Bartley they can literally "roll out of bed" to go to
class. Since so many sophomores live in these halls, a lot of students enjoy the social
opportunities. Another popular hall is Good Counsel, which is on South Campus. I think
the attraction there is the air conditioning and spacious rooms.

Fresh@News: How will the sophomore living experience be different from what the class has
experienced this year?

Ms. Schauder: We think of our residence life program as an educational experience in itself,
and each year students learn new skills. As first year students their roommates were
assigned to them, and the majority of students live in single-gender halls. (We do have
some mixed gender housing for first year students in our "Learning community" programs). By
sophomore year all students live in mixed residence halls, and most, we feel, have become
mature enough to handle it. These buildings will usually have alternate floors or wings
with men on one floor and women on another. It is a much more realistic living arrangement
and the students seem to enjoy it. As juniors, most (but not all) of our students will
move to our on-campus apartments, where they will be involved in a still more ndependent
form of living. Since the apartments have fully equipped kitchens, the students really live
more as they would in an apartment in the community. Finally as seniors, most of our
students will actually move into apartments in the community, and learn how to deal with
landlords, leases, and all of the responsibilities that come with fully independent living.
The goal is to gradually expose our students to greater freedom, independence, and
responsibility, while still providing support at each stage of the process.

Fresh@News: What advice do you have for parents?

Ms. Schauder: Housing is an issue that has a big emotional charge for students, and a wide
range of feelings can be evoked. The first point to make is that students sometimes need to
be encouraged to get accurate information before they fly off the handle. Sometimes the
things they are upset about can actually be fixed, so they need to be encouraged to talk to
someone before they get too upset. Often enough they will talk to their parents before
they have really found out exactly what is going on, then the parents pick up the concern of
the students. The first line of defense is to have the student try to sort out the problem
with someone here. If that doesn't seem to be working, we also encourage parents to call us
at any time. Of course usually everything happens at once in our office, so please
understand that we may not be able to answer your question immediately. Please be patient,
usually it all gets sorted out. Parents can also look at our website at
www.reslife.villanova.edu, which has a lot of information about housing at Villanova. All
of the housing information will be posted on the website by the second week of March. This
allows parents to view the information that we send to the students.

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