10 Tips and Tricks of the Residence Hall

BY JONATHAN LEVSKY // OCT. 25, 2016 //

If you’re a resident at Curry College, then you know all too well the many rules of the residence halls. But what if there was a way to enhance your dorm without breaking any rules at all?

Some of these rules may be surprising, but nevertheless they’re in place to ensure your safety within your room as well as the residence hall. So you may not be able to bring your candles, or your extension cords, or even your tapestry. However, there are still some ways to work around these restrictions and make your room as functional, comfortable, and personalized as possible.

dorm3
IMAGE CREDIT: Jonathan Levsky
  1. Command Strips are a necessity.

Command strips, which come in all shapes and sizes, can be used on pretty much anything. They can stick your favorite posters to the wall, hang extra hooks in your room, and hold photos and decor securely. The best part? They’re damage free, meaning no damage fees for you!

  1. Plug in air fresheners.

We all know that candles are awesome; they add both nice aroma and atmosphere to a room. However, they are not legal in campus residence halls. So switch it up and purchase a plug in air freshener for your room to add a nice smell. You can purchase them just about anywhere and can even change up the scents whenever you like; even holiday specific scents. Who doesn’t love the smell of Pumpkin Spice in the fall and Candy Canes in the winter?

dorm1
Buy curtains and a tension rod to hide a messy closet. // CREDIT: Shauna Nickerson ’18 and Nicole Harkins ’18
  1. Tension rods and curtains will hide that messy closet.

You move into your new room and unpack. Everything has a place, except for the things that don’t. For some, a closet is a perfect place to stuff those extra items you don’t need out in the open. But by purchasing a small tension rod and curtain, your messy closet can be hidden from everyone that enters your room.

  1. Door Draft Stopper are multipurpose.

Door draft stopper can be placed beneath a door to stop air that may be coming in underneath. What many don’t know is that it can also be used to also block light from coming in. So if you’re someone that needs complete darkness to sleep then purchasing one of these is a must.

  1. Fire proof spray your tapestries.

One of the most popular items on and college campus are tapestries. However, like candles, they aren’t allowed. Or are they? A tapestry alone is not allowed unless it is fire resistant. By spraying down the tapestry as well as having proof that it’s fire resistant, you can have that $100 Urban Outfitter tapestry hanging freely in your room.

  1. Invest in a rug.

If you’re anything like me, sitting on the floor in your room to do homework is a pretty common thing. However some floors with old carpets just aren’t as clean as you’d like and trying to clean it yourself is nearly impossible. So cover it up and purchase a rug! You can get any color and size you want and even match it to your room. It also serves as a comfy place to sit or have guests sleep.

  1. Bring extra storage bins.

We all have had that moment when we unpack our room and find that there is not enough space for everything. So purchasing more storage bins for your room is a must. Put anything you need in extra storage to be used when you need it and then just slide it back under your bed when you’re done.

dorm2
Invest in command hooks and strips to decorate your walls without damage. // CREDIT: Christianna Casaletto ’18
  1. Take advantage of the bed risers.

When you first move into your dorm, you’ll notice that the beds can be raised to any height you want. Most students decide that highest is best for maximum storage. However, this may still not be high enough if you’re trying to put items such as your fridge under your bed. Buy extra bed raisers so that you can raise the bed as high as you need and fit everything perfectly under your bed.

  1. Over the door hangers are a must.

Anybody who has a lot of clothes and shoes will understand just how small the Curry closets really are. By purchasing an over the door hanger, this problem can easily be avoided. A simple hanger is placed over your door and provides extra space to place items such as your shoes and clothes away.

  1. Dryer Racks are a life saver.

Sometimes, the Curry Dryers just don’t do their job, no matter how long you keep cycling your laundry in them. A dryer rack you can solve this problem and be able to hang all your wet clothes out until they are perfectly dry to put away.

On-Campus Housing Demand Breaks Record

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.

The new Bell Hall has great amenities. // PHOTO COURTESY OF CURRY COLLEGE
The new Bell Hall has great amenities. // PHOTO COURTESY OF CURRY COLLEGE

“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.

Bed, Wrath and Beyond

BY HALEY LORGE // MAY 7, 2014 //

After receiving their housing lottery numbers this spring, Curry College residential students scrambled to make plans for next year. However, things haven’t gone quite as planned for everybody.

Twenty current rising juniors have no place to live on campus next year because of a shortage in residential housing, even though the college is currently building a new 168-bed dormitory next to the Student Center. According to the assistant dean of students for residence life & housing, Erik Muurisepp, Curry enjoyed a record year for on-time housing deposits, with a total of 970 payments for the academic year 2014-15.

Oscarina Polonio is among the rising juniors on the “to-be-housed” list. “I was very upset that I was put on the waiting list for my junior year, knowing there was available space, but they wanted sophomores to get housing,” Polonio said.

Artist's rendering
Artist’s rendering

There has been a lot of concern about on-campus housing at Curry in recent years. The college has worked to improve its student retention rate—defined by the number of first-year students who return for a second year; the current rate is 65.6 percent—while at the same time it has increased its accepted student rate, which was 84 percent last year. According to the Admissions Department, 695 first-year students have placed their deposit to attend Curry in the fall. That’s 85 more first-year students than just two years ago.

Such growth has resulted in students living in converted common rooms in the residence halls and even in area hotel rooms rented by the school. Students who submit their housing deposits on time are guaranteed housing by the college.

The new dormitory should help ease the crunch, but the building is far from complete; construction only began in late March. College administrators have been adamant that the dorm would be finished by the start of the fall semester, but rising sophomores who recently chose rooms in the new building were required to pick an alternative space in case the building wasn’t ready. Those students had a choice between a converted common room in 886 or North Campus Residence Hall, or a hotel room at the Courtyard Marriott in Stoughton.

Muurisepp said common rooms would revert back to study areas as soon as the new building is ready.

Curry makes annual projections of which academic class will need the most housing, based on residential retention rates. Muurisepp said the demand is usually in sophomore housing. Of the students who turned in their deposits on time this year, 422 were rising sophomores. Combined, rising juniors and rising seniors accounted for 442.

Other changes to housing include:

  • North Campus Residence Hall will now only house freshmen, as opposed to a mix of freshmen and sophomores.
  • Green House and Brown House, which have traditionally housed sophomores, will now house juniors.
  • There will be 61 Resident Assistants next year, up from 55 this academic year.


How it Works

With the new building, the school will have 1,599 beds. However, not all beds are equal.

According to the Curry College website, a room is $7,580 plus a $400 refundable residence hall damage deposit. This is the standard rate for doubles in first-year dorms, North Campus Residence Hall, and the sophomore houses. However, at the bottom of the page, the college states that the room cost listed is only standard and may increase depending on room assignments.

What the website does not mention is that there is a total of seven rates for housing, which will increase to nine with the new building. The rates for rooms in 886, the Suites, South Campus Residence Hall, and the new building are higher. South Campus Residence Hall is the most expensive, followed by the Suites, and then 886. Singles are also more expensive than a double or triple in each dorm.

Muuriespp said the new building will be priced between 886 and the Suites, but the college is offering a discounted rate next year that will be the same as 886.

Housing selection at Curry is done by random lottery. Students are assigned a number and choose their residence hall in that order. But some students believe this isn’t the best process, particularly at a college with a poor retention rate.

“I don’t think it’s right that students who choose not to go to class or [not to] get involved could get better rooms than students who work hard and make deans list,” said Colleen McMahon, a freshman nursing major, who advocates for a system based on GPA.

McMahon and her current roommate, Karyn Colomey, received the lottery numbers 259 and 402, respectively. By the time they got to choose a residence hall, their only option was to split up and live in rooms with people they did not know. Both women are working with school officials to find a double room. Otherwise, they said, they might opt to live off campus next year.

Another challenge to changes on campus is alcohol. One of the appeals of junior and senior housing is living on the south side of campus, where a room may have alcohol in it if everyone there is 21. Many students turn 21 during their junior year, so they want to live on south side. Muurisepp said the college would likely re-evaluate the alcohol policies for the juniors living on central campus, defined as the residence halls surrounding the Student Center.

Ultimately, Muurisepp said, all times of change involve a certain degree of uncertainty. “My motto is, ‘Trust the process,’” Muurisepp said. “The process works, and 90 percent of the time it works itself out.”

Empty Extinguishers, False Alarms Have Students Heated

BY ANDREW PENACHO // APRIL 14, 2014 // 

The good news is that the fire alarms in residence halls at Curry College clearly work. The bad news is that some students seem to think fire safety is a joke.

In the 886 residence hall and others around campus, people have being pulling fire alarms as pranks — sometimes in the early-morning hours — forcing students out of theirs bed and into the night cold. In other cases, students have been playing with fire extinguishers. And some of those extinguishers remain empty.

Junior Ashley Sarnie, a nursing major and resident assistant int 886, is among those who has had to deal with these incidents.

“People have only spread the fire extinguishers twice,” Sarnie said. “People frequently have pulled the fire alarms around the time when people are trying to sleep.”

Photo by Mr. Beaver//Creative Commons
Photo by Mr. Beaver//Creative Commons

Freshman Tom Eanelli, who lives at 886, is among the many students feeling frustrated.

“It’s actually ridiculous,” Eanelli said. “I’ve had to wait outside three or four time this year [due to the fire alarms]. Each time around 3 a.m., during the winter so it was cold, too.”

Eanelli added that some students don’t seem to respect the dorms at Curry.

According to Sarnie, no student has been caught or fined for the alarms this year. If someone was caught, the punishment can be severe. The college’s policy reads: “Any student who wantonly and without authority pulls a fire alarm under any falsehoods or damages any fire alarm system faces prosecution (Mass General Laws) and or expulsion from the College.”

Currently, there are two empty fire extinguishers in 866 and two more in Lombard. No fire extinguisher is available in the basement floor of Mayflower.

Milton Fire Prevention Officer Brian Doherty said that because Curry is a private school and the college owns the fire extinguishers, it is up to Curry to refill them. Neither town nor state law requires them to be refilled, he said.

“If we were to go to public schools or public places, we make sure that all the fire safety equipment is up and running,” Doherty said.

As for Curry, Doherty suggested the college could find the guilty parties with a little sleuthing.

“The fire alarms and fire extinguishers have white powder that, once pulled or touched, can take a finger print of whoever did it.”

However, the college does not have a database of student fingerprints to run them against.    

Dorm Damage Fees Rile Students

BY TAYLOR EVANS // APRIL 2, 2014 //

When something is damaged in a residence hall, someone has to pay for it. At Curry College, it’s usually a lot of people.

Depending on the extent of the damage, a whole floor of students or an entire residence hall can be billed—and often are—to repair or replace things.

When the person responsible for the damage isn’t identified, the college will divide the costs among all students who live within the specified area, according to Stephanie Alliette, assistant director of housing operations at Curry. Many other colleges maintain a similar policy.

However, it still creates obvious tension among students, who are routinely frustrated that they must pay for the damage or theft done by others. Briana Oman, a sophomore psychology major, is among the many Curry students who receive regular emails from the college informing her that she has been fined for dorm damage.

“It gets annoying paying for people’s mistakes when I have nothing to do with it,” she said. “Most of the times I get fined are after a weekend, when a lot of people do stupid things when they’re drinking or going out. It gets frustrating, especially because often I’m not even in the building when this stuff goes on.”

The current system aims to compel students to hold their peers accountable, and to encourage the sharing of information about wrongdoing with resident assistants.

“Residents are highly encouraged to come forward and share any information they know, with the goal of minimizing community cost and identifying those at fault,” said Alliette. “This is why we continue to promote civility in the residence halls and encourage peers to hold each other accountable.”

All students who live on campus already pay a $400 damage deposit. However, the college expects all residence hall fines to be paid upon notice. At the conclusion of the spring semester, a final damage assessment is performed in each student’s room and the residence hall in general. Any fines levied from that assessment, as well as any previously unpaid residence hall-related fines, are deducted from the deposit. The remainder is then returned to the student within 30 days.