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Q&A with the director of Residential Life and University Housing
August 23, 2011Tweet
As students arrive for the fall semester, three new residence halls are opening on campus (Broome, Delaware and Endicott), joining Bingham Hall to form the new Newing College residential community; the new Chenango Champlain Collegiate Center will provide programming and dining spaces for both Newing College and Dickinson Community students; and work is underway to construct the new Dickinson Community, to be completed in 2013. Suzanne Howell is director of Residential Life and University Housing at Binghamton University, and she recently answered a number of questions about all that is going on.
Question: First, how many students will be residing on campus when the semester begins?
Answer: About 6,600 students will be living on campus, spread among College-in-the-Woods, Dickinson Community, Hinman College, Mountainview College, Newing College and the two apartment communities (Hillside and Susquehanna).
Q: How many students will be residing in triples and/or temporary housing at the beginning of the semester?
A: We will have about a hundred triple rooms at the beginning of the semester, and we’re working with the students assigned to those rooms. We have some tips and words of wisdom available on our website at http://reslife.binghamton.edu/future-students/temporary-triple.html, and we also expect to relocate students from temporary triples by the beginning of the spring semester.
Q: What is the procedure for moving those students as openings occur elsewhere?
A: As space becomes available in the area in which they reside, they will be offered the opportunity to move. Our experience is that some students like living in a triple so much that they decide to remain in a triple even after they’re offered the chance to move.
Q: Tell us about the three new residence halls. What amenities do they include? How are they being staffed? Anything else you want to say about them?
A: Broome, Delaware and Endicott are the new residence halls located in Newing College. Each building has a great room, kitchen, game room, laundry facilities including a lounge area to sit and study or hang out in while doing your laundry, and floor lounges on each floor. Students will be able to monitor when there is an open washer or dryer through their computer with the esuds system.
The buildings are constructed in the ‘neighborhood-style,’ which consists of three double rooms sharing a split bathroom. The bathrooms are off the hallway. Additionally, there are some singles, hotel doubles and hotel triples which have their own bathrooms. The hotel doubles will house the leadership assistants—students who will take a leadership role in the area.
Another interesting feature to keep the buildings more green is that each building will have a sustainable water fountain where students can fill up water bottles.
These buildings will be staffed by a professional Resident Director, an Assistant Resident Coordinator (graduate student) and Resident Assistants who all live in the building. All have gone through extensive training and are ready to work with their residents to create a community.
Q: Is the construction of the new Dickinson buildings expected to be disruptive to students in any of the other nearby buildings? If so, what is being done to mitigate disruptions?
A: We don’t expect any major issues. Just as we did for Bingham, we will send out construction status updates every two weeks to the Newing residents. If residents have concerns, they are encouraged to reach out to a Residential Life staff member.
Q: What is Residential Life doing differently this year for move-in day, given the opening of the new buildings and the construction on and off campus? Who do students/parents look for as they navigate the moving in process? People in colored shirts?
A: As in years past, there will be Residential Life staff (wearing green staff shirts) ready to greet and check in new residents and their families when they arrive at their building. In addition, we have returning students who are volunteering as welcome back crew members (wearing gold shirts) to assist with the new students’ belongings.
Q: What should students expect from Residential Life staff as they settle into their on-campus homes?
A: The Residential Life staff will be working to create a community through providing social and educational events. Their role is to help the new students form a connection with the floor, hall, area and Binghamton University.
Q: Where should students turn if they have issues with roommates, questions about housing, etc.?
A: I would suggest that residents first reach out to their Resident Assistant (RA) who resides on their floor, followed by their Assistant Resident Coordinator and/or Resident Director who maintain office hours in the building. Students in the apartment communities can stop by the area office to talk to the Assistant Community Director and/or Community Director.
Q: Do you have any advice for parents as they drop off their sons and daughters?
A: As a parent of two college students (one here at Binghamton), I know what it feels like to have your child grow up and head to college; it is a time of mixed emotions. I encourage you to talk about communication expectations – will you talk, text or e-mail? When is too soon to contact them (or should you wait for them to contact you?)
Give them the space to make new connections so that they grow and develop. Encourage them to get involved in something that they like—a club, sport or activity).
In the end, it is their journey. Our goal here in Residential Life is to help provide your student a connection so they feel comfortable and at home. We are excited to have your son or daughter attend Binghamton University and be a part of our communities. They have made a great choice. It is a wonderful place!