Tuesday, November 20

Converted sorority houses accomodate dorm overflow


Converted sorority houses accomodate dorm overflow

Older students revel in feeling of community

By Allison Lefkowitz

Daily Bruin Staff

Four large homes on Hilgard Avenue that once housed sororities
are now being used by the university and the Office of Residential
Life to accommodate transfer students who initially signed up to
live in the university’s residence halls.

The Office of Residential Life was forced to search for housing
alternatives when the university accepted more than 700 additional
first-year students than in previous years.

Adding to the overflow was a 15 to 20 percent increase in
students who wanted to return to the residence halls, said Ron
Butler, resident director of Hershey Hall and the Hilgard
Houses.

The houses were chosen because of their proximity to campus and
their good condition, Butler said. The university’s leases on the
houses range from two to five years, so all four will be a part of
on-campus housing for at lease one more year.

Representatives from the Office of Residential Life said they
chose to put junior and senior students in the houses because they
would have more in common with many of the graduate students living
at Hershey Hall, also on Hilgard Avenue.

Anywhere from 36 to 45 students live in each house, three of
which are coed. Residents said they are generally happy with the
situation and how it has worked out.

Many residents and community assistants ­ the houses’
equivalent to a resident assistant ­ said they like the fact
that everyone is older.

"I was a resident assistant in Sunset last year and I wanted to
work in an older environment," said Janine Bradford, the community
assistant in the all-women’s house. "It is great because all of the
students are transfers and are in the same boat. The feeling of
community has been really good."

Corey Weinberg, a third-year psychology and transfer student,
said she likes the house environment better than the dorms.

"It’s big enough to meet people, but small enough that we can
all be friends and it’s not too wild and crazy," she said.

Students living in the Hilgard Houses have access to meals at
any residence hall, though most said they go to Hershey Hall
because of convenience.

Residents said their only complaints are that they are on the
opposite side of campus from most of the other living areas and
have security concerns .

Terry Liu, a community assistant in one of the houses, said each
house will meet to determine how they want to handle security and
said there are an increased number of campus security officers on
duty every night on Hilgard.

Each house has its own student government and a council of the
house presidents will be part of the On Campus Housing Council,
Butler said. The houses will have events together and also
participate in activities with Hershey Hall and the other residence
halls.

Liu said his residents, who range in age from 18 to 35, seem to
see it as a positive experience.

"At first, some of them expected the dorms and I think were
disappointed with having rooms with more people," he said. "But I
think they have begun to see the value of the extra space like the
downstairs living room and library areas."

April Johnson, a third-year English student and one of Liu’s
residents, said she was initially skeptical because she did not
know exactly what the living arrangements would be.

"But I think it has worked out very well," Johnson said. "I
suggest that the university do it again in the future."

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someoneShare on Google+Share on Reddit

Comments are supposed to create a forum for thoughtful, respectful community discussion. Please be nice. View our full comments policy here.