What to Expect at Housing Selection

BY JACOB LACE // APRIL 4, 2016 //

To some, the start of spring means baseball, weddings, T-shirts and a cheaper heating bill. But for 18- to 22-year-olds it’s worrying about where to live on their respective college or university’s campus.

At the start of every calendar year, Curry College sends out information on the Housing Lottery that takes place at the beginning of each April. The process of Room and Board agreements and housing deposits starts as early as late January, and the department of Residence Life gathers their list of housing-eligible students to send out random lottery numbers.

Of the approximately 1,500 students living on campus, 96 percent of students who are eligible for housing participate in the lottery. 19 residence halls for a small school such as Curry seems like plenty of room for students to live, yet every student hears from their respective grape vines which dorms are better than others.

And while a previous article “How to Survive the Curry Housing Lottery” described the Housing Lottery as it pertains to a student’s point of view, there’s a side that can be told from the perspective of the director of Residence Life, Stephanie Alliette. When it comes to surviving the “Lottery Games,” Alliette knows more than a few things.

The housing checklist that is available on the Student Portal “outlines everything you need to do leading up to [lottery] selection” and is a “good point of reference” to keep yourself organized for when it comes time to pick where to live, she said. The college’s website offers useful information, too.

Alliette also noted that coming prepared with a couple of back-up plans is important in case your original wish-list of rooms get picked before it’s your turn.

Suite selection comes first, along with single-room selection, falling this year on Wednesday, April 6. The following day is general housing selection for all other student housing.

The Suites and SCRH on South Campus usually fill up immediately with upper-classmen looking to stay around each other in the apartment-style housing. Also, you’re allowed to have alcohol in your room if everyone is at least 21 years old. This leaves houses and underclassmen residence halls for the choosing.

Alliette said a common problem students face is when they don’t “do their homework” and check on their housing class standing or make sure all of their paperwork is accounted for. Making your list and checking it twice should be duly noted.

After selection is over, students can change their housing. However, the chances of having the room that they want after the process is slim.

Whether you’re a freshman worrying about where your friends are living or a junior wondering if you want an apartment or a house, getting a little help is OK. Alliette and the rest of the Residence Life staff have acquired knowledge from helping students every year; all you need to do is ask.

Being able to “live to tell a tale of how they survived the lottery” is a story that all students can brag about. The battle for places to live is indeed a battle.

Preparing for Curry College’s Fourth Annual Consent Day

BY DAHLIA DEHAAN // MARCH 31, 2016 //

Curry College’s fourth annual Consent Day is coming up. On Wednesday, April 13 in the Student Center from 5-8 p.m., students will be given the opportunity to participate in events and discussions revolving around what sexual consent actually is.

Consent Day offers sexual education in the college setting. According to co-chair of the Consent Day committee, junior Health and Wellness major Kayla Keany, Consent Day is meant to empower students to overcome fear and to learn how to say no when feeling uncomfortable in sexual predicaments. Consent Day also offers information about safe and consensual sex.

Curry holds an annual Consent Day in an effort to increase awareness about healthy sexuality, sexual assaults and how students can play a role in preventing sexual assaults on campus.

“It is the only event of its kind on our campus that both raises awareness and provides education,” says Keany.

Preparations for Consent Day start months in advance with the formation of the Planning Committee, which involves inviting numerous groups and departments from all over the college — Athletics, FYS, Student Affairs and Student Activities — to help fund, plan and volunteer at the event. This year’s committee is co-chaired by Keany, junior Communication major Caroline Finamore, Fitness Center Director Sarah Simunovich and Counselor Idonia Gaede.

Preparation also includes deciding on a theme, T-shirts logos and which events will be held. The first 250 students to attend this year’s event will be given a free Consent Day T-shirt.

The event is sponsored by student-run clubs such as Student Events and Entertainment (S.E.E.) and Health Image Power Success (HIPS). Some favorite events from past years, like the Blurry Vision and Consent Relay Race, will be back, as well as new features including a photo booth sponsored by S.E.E.

Consent Day is a campus-wide event that everyone in the community is invited to participate in. Discussions will be held on the importance of sexual consent, and the consequences of sexual misconduct.

Costly Curry; Tuition Set to Increase by 2.9%

BY MATTHEW WEDDLETON // MARCH 30, 2016 //

You hear it all the time, “College is so expensive!” Unfortunately for Curry students, tuition is set to increase by 2.9% for the 2016-2017 academic year.

As a private institution, Curry College is listed among top 30 “Most Expensive Colleges in Massachusetts.” For the upcoming academic year, the total cost for residents living on campus will be $51,815. This total does not take into account the PAL Program, as well as indirect costs that could bring students total bill to well over $60,000 per year.

According to David Nerenberg, interim chief financial officer and director of finance at Curry College, “The costs of running an institution of higher education, particularly in New England, grow faster than the rate of inflation.”

Curry College’s website states that 70% of students receive financial aid. However, Nerenberg believes the number of students who receive some form of financial aid has risen to about 94%.

Sophomore business management major Renata Pinto said, “The price of tuition already draws current students away from Curry, and with the raise it will not only draw more current students away, but incoming students as well.”

With the increase of tuition for the upcoming year, Pinto said she is questioning whether or not to return to Curry in the fall.

“Although Curry is a great school academically, I have already thought about transferring many times, and with the raise scheduled for next school year it brings up a concern about continuing my education here,” she said.

In the 2015-2016 academic year, the average cost of tuition for private colleges across the country was said to be at $32,405 according to College Board. Nonetheless, students at Curry will be expected to pay $35,740 for tuition alone, which is above this past year’s national average.

If the inflation rate of tuition went up 2.9% every year for the next 15 years, Curry students would be expected to pay slightly over $50,000 for tuition alone.

“There are many external environmental factors that can vary significantly each year, such as health insurance and energy costs, which preclude predicting tuition changes years in advance,” said Nerenberg.

A report by the Boston Business Journal said that the total operating revenue at Curry declined by about $1 million to $86.6 million in fiscal 2015. According to Nerenberg, 89% of Curry’s operating revenue comes from student tuition, room & board, and other fees.

Nerenberg said that Curry is continuing to take significant steps to contain its expenses, as well as provide increased institutional financial aid to students.

Levin Library Introduces New Tech Lab

BY COLE MCNANNA // MARCH 10, 2016 //

Within the confines of the Levin Library, tucked away in the corner of the Quiet Study Lounge on the basement floor of the building, lies the Learning Lab.

Curry College’s newest advancement in learning aids holds four computers stocked with assistive technology as well as a printer and scanner to help students with learning disabilities. On top of that, there are headphones set aside for students to block out noise and better focus on any task at hand.

The assistive technologies loaded on these computers include Dragon Naturally Speaking Speech Recognition Software, which allows users to speak their words as opposed to typing. On the other end, there is software called Kurzweil 3000, which speaks texts to its users.

There are also two systems that magnify the reading text, as well as software that allows users to create a visual representation or diagram of their thoughts, called Inspiration.

All of these resources are commonly used by members of the Program for Advancing Learning (PAL) and students who are registered in the Office of Disability Services (ODS) with Christopher “Chip” Kennedy. However, all Curry students now have access to these assets through the new Learning Lab.

Curry College Learning Lab located in the basement of the Levin Library // Photo By Cole McNanna
Curry College Learning Lab located in the basement of the Levin Library // Photo By Cole McNanna

“The purpose of this is so that assistive technology is available for all students,” said Kennedy. “Obviously it’s meant for students with a disability…but it’s really meant for any student who wants to utilize that.”

This center of learning is fairly new—it opened the beginning of this semester—but it has been a project in the waiting for almost five years.

“This has been something that I’ve been pushing for for about four and a half years now,” said Kennedy. “I’ve been pushing for there to be a computer lab on this campus with assistive technology.”

A factor that held back their advancement was the old organization of the library, which had taken use of the room that currently hosts the Learning Lab.

Once the rooms were available, there was a process to determine the best use for the newly vacant rooms. Ed Tallent, the Dean of Faculty and former director of the Levin Library, teamed up with Kennedy to create the foundation for the Learning Lab and noted that there was some competition for the new space.

“There were multiple possibilities, as there were multiple space needs both in the library and in the college,” said Tallent. “Some of the possibilities were more using the space for more traditional library space needs, such as study spaces.”

Tallent went on to deliver a positive verdict, however, saying, “The happy ending is that the library space ended up being used for a college-wide need. That is not always the result of space decision-making processes.”

Once all the pieces of the puzzle finally came together, the prospect of recruiting students took center stage as the primary factor of its nonuse. With it being such a new resource, many students did not (and still do not) know that it exists.

Kennedy and his staff in turn created informational brochures outlaying the premises and technologies available to students. They placed these brochures in the PAL and Admissions buildings to promote to current and prospective students. They also sent out an email to faculty and staff at the beginning of the semester, and advertise on the biweekly email detailing the events coming up on campus.

Disability Services // Photo Courtesy of Curry College
Disability Services // Photo Courtesy of Curry College

Kennedy knows that these are simply growing pains. “It is taking some time, and obviously not everyone is going to use it immediately,” he said. “It’s been a gradual process and as the semester goes on, there’s going to be more students who will be utilizing it.”

Another factor that may hold them back is their location in the Library. However, Kennedy notes that it is crucial to its success.

“I think it’s a great location,” Kennedy said. “It’s good because it’s kind of set back and gives students their privacy, especially in utilizing the different assistive technology. By having that privacy, it’s actually most ideal.”

They have attempted to do something similar to this in past years when they had assistive technologies on two computers on the main floor of the library. “It got no use because it was right in the heart of the computers and the chaos,” Kennedy said. “It didn’t give students any privacy.”

These assistive technology softwares are not new to campus, however those computers are in the PAL building, which is only open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Moving to the library meant having a Learning Lab that is open for over a hundred hours during the week, including weekends.

Kennedy noted that he is excited to do more promotion, with not only current students but also prospective students coming to campus for Accepted Students Day in April.