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Model rooms offer preview of residence hall life

By : Cait Anastis

One of two model rooms created on campus.
Borrowing an idea from the private sector, Binghamton University created a pair of model rooms to give prospective students a preview of life in the residence halls.

The model rooms, a result of a partnership between Residential Life and the Office of Undergraduate Admis-sions, were created by remodeling two underutilized hobby rooms in College-in-the-Woods.

With the help of Physical Facilities and the University Bookstore, the rooms were repainted and furnished. Residential Life staff members Barbara Dickman, Nancy Chier and Jean Pitely then decorated the rooms, said Terry Webb, director of residential life. While the rooms are the same size as other residence hall rooms, they cannot be used for housing because they lack windows.

The creation of the model rooms gives campus tour guides an easy way to show visitors what rooms in the residence communities look like.

“Over 18,000 prospective students and their families visit Binghamton each year,” said Sandra Starke, vice provost of Enrollment Management. “This is an extraordinarily large number for a campus of our size, and every one of those visitors wants to see the residence hall facilities.”

In the past, student tour guides worked to accommodate visitor’s requests by taking tour groups to see their room or the room of a friend, Starke said. “We didn’t have access to rooms all the time, and disappointed many families” she said.

Bringing large tour groups into the residence halls to look at occupied rooms also created disruptions for students living in the facilities.

“During our fall open houses, we might have 2,000 people going through a residence facility in a single day,” Starke said.

Finding a room and bringing a large tour group into a hall were not the only challenges. Because they were visiting real rooms occupied by students, there was also the chance that the rooms would be messy or that decorations wouldn’t be appropriate for family viewing, she said.

“Terry’s idea of a model room solved all those problems at once.” Starke said, adding that visitors can also be given a key to the rooms to use on self-guided tours.

“They use the key to get in, and drop the key off as they leave, so they don’t have to be on a scheduled visit,” she said.

While Webb said that he knows of only one other university using model rooms, it is something that has been done by hotels and apartment complexes for a number of years.

“In the private sector it is something that is done all the time,” Webb said. “You go to an apartment building and there is a model room. We just needed to do the same thing. This way, the admissions office can use them 365 days a year.”
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Last Updated: 10/14/08