Due to a high number of incoming freshman, AU Housing has made the decision to designate Morrison and Martin Halls as freshman dorms. All second-year female students will be housed in Myers Hall beginning this fall.
Assistant Dean of Students Jason Stephens says the decision to use Myers Hall for second-year females was made after receiving the anticipated number of new students from the Office of Admissions.
“We are on track for next fall to have 550 new students,” says Stephens. “Typically, 90 percent of first-year students live on campus, and 60 percent of our incoming students are typically women. That comes out to being 300 spots for women next year.”
Morrison and Martin Halls provide approximately 180 open spots each, which is the number of spaces that will be needed to house freshmen, RAs and discipleship coordinators next year.
Stephens notes that continuing to house freshmen together is beneficial to the first-year experience, and that creating a similar community for sophomore students is a step in the right direction.
“There’s a growing trend among some of our peer institutions,” says Stephens. “They focus in on having an experience for first-year students, second-year students and upper-level students.
“Already having first-year students only being able to live in Martin or Morrison felt like an appropriate thing to continue doing,” he said. “We wanted to begin creating a unique second-year experience for women living in Myers.”
According to feedback sessions with housing, the suite-style layout of Myers Hall appeals to upper-level students.
“As we talk to women, a lot of times they say they prefer having just one bathroom shared by four people and not 24,” says Stephens. “They also enjoy having a hall that’s less involved. Having a building for sophomore women where they can focus in on areas that they want to be involved in and not have all the plethora of opportunities that freshmen halls have is another feedback we’ve gotten.”
Myers Hall also allows second-year females to have a more active role in shaping their own communities, as they can choose their suitemates as opposed to just their roommate.
In addition, to help shape the “second-year experience,” Myers Hall will partner with social-service clubs and small groups, which are open to second-year students and above.
Although the specifics have yet to be determined, Myers may be host to certain events and activities that are appealing to sophomore students.
“While we probably won’t have DCs in Myers, we likely will have small group leaders just for Myers,” says Stephens. “Women can sign up to be part of a small group that takes place in Myers just for the residents.”
Often, students are entering their major-related courses for the first time during their sophomore year.
This aspect of the second-year experience offers an opportunity for the Center for Career and Calling to host events and activities specifically for Myers Hall residents who might be questioning their majors and vocations.
“What we’re trying to do is address the ‘sophomore slump’ on our campus by identifying the needs of our sophomore students and being able to create an experience in Myers that best meets those needs,” says Stephens. “Currently, it’s hard to address all those needs when they are spread out over three buildings,” he says. “But when they’re primarily in one building, we’re able to make those changes, and are also able to say, ‘Okay, Martin and Morrison is primarily first-year students, so how do we address their needs?’”
Due to the number of spots necessary to reserve for freshmen students, it is unlikely that sophomores will have the opportunity to live in Morrison or Martin Halls next year.
However, they will have the chance to place their names on a waitlist during room draw in the case that spaces in the two buildings become available over the summer.