The first semester of college can be an experiment gone haywire for some students. For those who aren’t happy with their living situations, the release of housing forms initiates the perennial scramble to defect once again.
Between the Fall 2016 and Spring 2017 semesters last year, 44 students switched to a different on-campus residence. Students may consider the option of moving back on campus or moving to a different dorm residence.
Of the 44 from last year, 35 were women according to Dean of Women Diane Philipp. Nine of the women who switched were freshmen.
Aide to the Dean of Men Rita Conrad said there were only nine men who switched residences last year, but did not have information on their years. The data from previous years could not be retrieved because the school shreds its paper records and overwrites the online housing information each year.
Dean of Men Aaron Petersen confirmed that freshmen can switch dorms between their fall and spring semesters. Other residences, he said, are only allowed in extreme cases, such as fraternity members filling empty beds in their respective houses.
Petersen explained that it was permissible for off-campus residents to move on campus, but current on-campus students are only permitted to shift between other on-campus residences.
In the case of junior Laura White life at McIntyre Residence wasn’t ideal. About a week into the school year the transfer student asked to move into Whitley Residence because she had heard there were other transfer students and her current situation “just didn’t seem like a good fit.” Since making the transition, she said she’s been happy with her current residence.
“It has been very nice living in a residence hall with people in a similar situation as me,” White said. “I’ve enjoyed it a lot.”
White initiated her move by contacting Associate Dean of Women Rebekah Dell, who informed her there was an open room in Whitley. After talking to Judith Schellhammer, Whitley’s House Director, White was able to transfer her belongings to the other dorm.
“It was honestly a very simple and uncomplicated process, and housing was very helpful throughout it all,” she said.
Though White is a junior by credits, she explained she’ll likely be at Hillsdale for three years to finish the core and courses for her major. White’s roommate in Whitley, Leahi Johsens, is actually a true freshman, but she also switched dorms after surgery on her broken arm. Johsens decided to switch around the end of October, and has been living in Whitley for a month.
“The community bathrooms and high beds in Olds Residence made it difficult for me to live comfortably there while I was recovering,” she explained.
Freshman Declan Williamson also elected to move into another dorm. Williamson, a Simpson resident, will move into the vacant room in Koon Residence next semester. He’ll be joined by sophomore Luke Grzywacz, who lives in the Suites Residence.
“Most of my friends live in Koon,” Williamson said. “I spend more time there than in my own dorm.”
Williamson requested Simpson Residence as a freshman because it was “nice and new.” After making friends with Koon residents, he decided he preferred their “laidback” community and “less cramped” rooms.
Petersen noted that students, especially men, might not take advantage of an opportunity to change because of the time it takes to settle in.
“Even if they could switch the roommate they have, they’ve learned how to work out that situation,” he said. “They’d prefer not to restart that process.”
Freshmen are also restricted to the four main men’s residences on campus, the dean said.
“We don’t let freshmen live in the Suites,” Petersen said. “We don’t release students off campus when there are beds available on campus.”