BY BRANDAN BLOM // APRIL 21, 2015 //
Say what you will about Curry College residence halls. Some are in need of great repair—perhaps even demolition. But more students than ever before want to live on campus.
According to the office of Residence Life, a record 1,016 students placed on-time housing deposits this spring, up from 970 last year and 816 in 2013.
Stephanie Alliette, assistant director of Residence Life, says the increased demand is the result of several factors, including larger freshmen classes, improved retention rates—meaning the percent of first-year students who return to Curry for a second year—and greater student engagement in and around the residence halls.
“Part of the retention process overall is to get students to want to stay on campus,” said Alliette. “I think it’s a variety of initiatives. It comes from academics, all the way to what we do in Residence Life….The quality of our RAs is increasing. If we have better RAs in the halls, better pro staff there offering better programs and building better communities, we find that is very enticing.”
Armand Wilson, a sophomore IT major, said he’s excited that more students are choosing to live on campus, as opposed to commute from home. With more people around on campus, the college can build a better social experience for students, he said.
“I would think that if there were more students on campus it would be easier to find people who have similar interests,” said Wilson.
According to sophomore Steven DePina, the convenience that comes with living on campus is what attracted him to stay on campus. “It is so much easier to wake up, go to the Student Center for food, and go to class,” he said. “You don’t have to deal with traffic or having to take the bus.”
As sophomores Wilson and DePina are part the largest returning class at Curry. Alliette said 447 current sophomores placed on-time housing deposits this year. To handle the increased demand for junior beds next year, Residence Life plans to reallocate buildings. Brown, Green, Gray and a portion of North will be used for junior housing, she said.
“But that’s also because we introduced Bell Hall [this year], which is primary sophomore beds,” she added.
Bell Hall provides 162 sophomore beds and six RA beds. Overall, Curry features 1,599 beds.
Alliette said some students have been assigned to live in residence hall common rooms, which will be converted into dorm rooms, but expects they will be moved into traditional dorm rooms before the start of the fall semester. Every year, she reported, a certain number of students change their minds and opt to live off campus, or fail to return to Curry for any number of reasons.