As Residential Life and Housing Services and Campus Council evaluate the linking process in the upcoming semester, they must consider the current system's many flaws. Linking is not fulfilling the residential life goals of the University and should be seriously altered.
As Residential Life and Housing Services and Campus Council evaluate the linking process in the upcoming semester, they must consider the current system’s many flaws. Although there have been linking success stories since the program began in Fall 2002, overall linking is not fulfilling the residential life goals of the University and should be seriously altered.
The fundamental obstacle to successful linking is the architecture of West Campus. A quadrangle is a much larger residential unit than an East Campus dormitory, so freshmen who link automatically lose some of the cohesion that comes from a smaller, self-contained dorm. Freshmen linking from GA may end up nowhere near others linking from the same dorm.
Additionally, despite the University’s refusal to acknowledge it, not all West Campus quads are built equal. Linking is often times a geographical move—an effort to get a room in a good location—instead of an effort to maintain and build community.
The current linking process also creates problems for upperclassmen who want to stay on West. Since the University must reserve a certain number of rooms for linking freshmen, it is often difficult for juniors and seniors to stay in their quads. This again creates fragmented quads with a limited upperclass presence.
Linking has flaws that challenge its principal purpose; it also has logistical flaws. As the size of the freshman class increases and West Campus loses bed space to renovations, the problems of linking will only be exasperated.
RLHS should develop a linking program that maintains the beneficial aspects of the current process while attempting to minimize the current problems.
In order to elimiate the confounding problem of linking for location instead of linking for community, RLHS should consider a program in which freshmen choose to link before they know what quad their dorm will link to. Once RLHS determines how many students from each freshmen dorms are linking, it would allot linking space for those groups. The rest of the freshmen would enter a general lottery where they could form blocks. This would elimitate the geographical incentive for linking and would encourage students to link because they want to maintain the community of their East Campus dorm instead of because they desire a prime location.
This would also allow for all of the students linking to live in closer quarters instead of being spread through a large quad. In a sense, the portions of West that freshmen link to would become like graduated East Campus dorms and would have a greater chance to mimic the cohesive East Campus experience.
This new system would not solve the problem of continuity between sophomore and junior year, but that continuity is already lacking.
Having large units of linking freshmen will also create a better sense of balance between independents and selective living groups. These groups of independents would be more likely to be involved in quad councils and quad programming.
Linking has potential, but only if it is drastically revamped, which is what RLHS and Campus Council need to do now.
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