Now in its second year now, the housing model has received neutral to positive feedback from students.
Last year was the first year that a new housing model was implemented. The new model involved increasing the number of residential communities as well as granting sections to preexisting organizations, including Panhellenic Council sororities and Multicultural Greek Council groups. As a result, fewer students are living in independent houses, said Linda Moiseenko, assistant director of housing assignments and community housing.
Greek students overall seem to be happy with the housing model, said Jack Riker, president of Interfraternity Council.
“It’s nice to know that people have found their home,” Riker said. "People have really invested in their spaces now that they know it’s their space, their home and they have ownership of it. “
Riker who lives in the Sigma Nu Fraternity, Inc section on Central said that communal activities like decorating the common room and picking the furniture and wall colors together has given the brothers a sense of belonging.
Katie Howard, president of Panhellenic Council, said there has not been an increase in sorority rush due to the new housing model because there is no certainty of being accepted into a particular group.
“Having housing finally allowed our sororities to feel valued on campus—SLGs and fraternities have long had housing and many Panhel women wondered why that was never an option for them,” Howard said.
She added that living in section with her sorority members has created a tighter community both within her sorority and between other sororities.
“I’m positive that many other women felt the same way about their live-in experiences, bringing your sisters so geographically close allows for friendships to mature almost effortlessly,” Howard said.
On a similar note, the Multicultural Greek Council—which also received housing for the first time last year—now benefits from a greater sense of community because all of the groups share an apartment building, MGC president Ian Zhang wrote in an email June 12.
Dean of Undergraduate Education Steve Nowicki, who spearheaded the new housing model, said he has seen Central Campus transform from one of the most undesirable housing locations to a coveted one.
“A few years ago, I’d get angry phone calls from students and parents about being stuck on central," Nowicki said. "This last year I’ve been getting not angry, but certainly upset phone calls, and it’s been just the opposite—alum parents are aghast and the daughter says, ‘No, I love it, this is where I want to be.’ Students complain they can’t get a space on central.”
Overall, Zhang said that MGC section residents have mostly neutral opinions of the housing model as one of the major components—right of return—does not pose any sort of a change for those who already reside in the section.
“The housing model’s biggest impact will be on independent groups—for Greeks, it represents merely a change in living space,” Zhang said.
Independent students now have the right to return to the residence from the previous year. Unlike last year, when independents were placed in dorms based on a lottery system.
Some improvements that sororities have campaigned for include better lighting and more bus stops throughout Central Campus, where all of the sorority housing sections are located. Lighting has been upgraded because of the recent security concerns.
Riker said that all of the recommendations he’s made to administrators have been listened to and that students have been kept sufficiently involved with the process of creating and establishing a new model.
“It’ll be interesting to see how it pans out, but I think it’s going to be a success…the administration is doing a really good job of making sure they do it right,” Riker said.
Although the housing model has created more groups, Riker said he does not feel that the campuses will be more socially divided than before.
“There are a lot of non-Greek houses and it’s cool to walk around and the same thing as living on West," Riker said. "That’s the way it’s always been and I think it really helps the community, along the lines of people wanting to work together and understanding the working as a collective, united Greek community.”
Nowicki noted student feedback has been neutral to mildly positive, outdoing his expectations of negative to neutral feedback of the model.
“It is going much better than I could have expected,” Nowicki said. “When we put in the new system, we assumed that students would inherently not like it."
When East Campus was turned into a campus exclusively for first-years in the 1990’s by President Nan Keohane, many students were upset at the loss of East Campus which had been a “quieter, contemplative” campus that some preferred, as opposed to West Campus which was considered the loud, partying campus, said Nowicki, who was an assistant professor at the time.
Although not every student was happy with the new housing model, Nowicki noted that the feedback was not as negative as when East Campus was made for freshmen only.
"I wasn’t expecting the riots with the first-year campus because no one’s really losing anything, maybe a few social selective groups got shuffled a bit," Nowicki said.