When the proposed Honors Program dorm planned with the construction of NextGen Hall was abandoned due to budget cuts, a compromise was reached which will move several learning communities to new locations in order to make room for study spaces in Buckley Hall.
In order to make up for the loss of a new Honors building, the 10 four-person rooms in Buckley are being turned into “study spaces.” According to Associate Directors of Housing Services, Amy Crim and Kimberly Proulx, this will suit the Honors program because students on every floor of Buckley will be able to have their own study space.
This conversion, however, needs to made up for by using Shippee Hall as a dorm designated for freshman Honors students, Crim and Proulx said. Shippee currently houses Honors students along with three Learning Communities: Fine Arts House, Humanities House and Connecting With The Arts House, which will all be moving to Watson Hall in Alumni.
The three learning communities currently housed in Alumni will be moved to NextGen Hall next year, according to the UConn Learning Communities website. These learning communities are Public Health House, WIMSE and Innovation House. Other communities that will be housed in NextGen Hall are Engineering House, Eurotech House, Scholars House and EcoHouse.
The dorm will also include a floor reserved for continuing Honors students with STEM majors. Other options for continuing Honors students include a few rooms in Shippee Hall and Brock Hall in Alumni. According to Proulx, the demolition of Connecticut Commons will also cause Anna M. Snow Hall in South Campus to become the new location of all Honors suites. Previously, the Honors dorms in South were in Wilson Hall; Snow is a much bigger hall meant to accommodate the number of students in the Honors Program who still wish to live in Honors housing.
Engineering House is currently in Batterson Hall in Northwest. Next year, it will be replaced by the Pre-Pharm House, which is currently in Towers. This will leave Towers without any learning communities.
This is part of an initiative by Housing Services to facilitate “freshman spaces” in Towers, Grange and Hicks dorms. Shippee Hall is also being converted to a primarily freshman Honors dorm. The mentality is shifting from letting freshman take after the upperclassmen to having an environment which is modeled to freshmen, Proulx said.
“We have a committee working on student learning and development outcomes; things like social justice, acclimating to campus, and roommate relationships,” Proulx said. “Nothing is official yet, but we are trying to determine areas for freshman and what they need to make their experience optimal.”
The shift of learning communities contributed to Housing Services’ decision to eliminate the option to “squat” in one’s current room for next year. According to Crim, only around 500 out of 9,000 students opted to remain in the same room last year.
“[Students] couldn’t pull in their friends and thus this option is unpopular. It made a lot of work year after year for a small percentage of students,” Crim said. “A lot of students didn’t know it was an option, most students that we talked to said that they didn’t think it was going to be a big deal.”
Katharine Katrichis is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.