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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

Jimmy Fund RA Program Takes Off

BY SAM PISCITELLI // NOV. 3, 2015 // 

At the end of last semester, Kayla Keany was feeling the pressure. She had exams looming and RA commitments to keep up with. It was tough for Keany to push forward, but she did so by finding happiness in helping others. That’s when she began brainstorming ideas to raise money for the Jimmy Fund.

“I love volunteering and working for others,”  said Keany, a Resident Assistant in 156 House and a junior Community Health and Wellness major. “I thought about it, and on a personal level I connected with the children and I thought it would be a great organization to sponsor.”

With the help of fellow RA and junior Community Health and Wellness major, Colleen Joyce, Keany put together a multi-step program to raise awareness and collect donations for the Jimmy Fund.

Colleen Joyce (left) and Kayla Keany (right.) PHOTO COURTESY OF KAYLA KEANY.
Colleen Joyce (left) and Kayla Keany (right.) PHOTO COURTESY OF KAYLA KEANY.

Keany contacted a representative from the the Jimmy Fund back in April and proceeded to fill out all necessary paperwork. She met with a Community Director and asked help from friends like Joyce.

“It was a lot of brainstorming and making those ideas become solid,” Keany said. “With something you really want to do that is big, you have to work towards it, and with that came a lot of time and effort.”

Keany arranged for Kate McGuirk, Assistant Director of Corporate Partnerships at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and an associate for the Jimmy Fund, to appear as a guest speaker on Sunday, Nov. 8. McGuirk will be talking about the ins and outs of the Jimmy Fund, where donations go and its importance. The event will take place on the 8th at 5-6 p.m. in the Student Center’s Large Meeting Room.

When Keany received a personal phone call from McGuirk thanking her for going “above and beyond” for these children, she was beyond ecstatic. “When I got the phone call I was getting ready for the day. When I answered it my heart melted into little pieces, and I thought it was adorable,” Keany said. “Knowing that I was making the impact made me want to go above and beyond for this program.”

PHOTO COURTESY OF KAYLA KEANY.
PHOTO COURTESY OF KAYLA KEANY.

Keany and Joyce have collected around 42 books and homemade cards to be sent to the Jimmy Fund patients at Dana Farber. While Keany expressed saddeness at her inability to deliver the cards herself, she said she is “happy they will bring joy to these beautiful, strong children.” Keany also said her favorite part about the cards being sent to the kids is that they are all so diverse, so no child will be delivered the same card.

The “Strike out for Cancer” fundraiser will continue through the end of this month.

If you are interested in participating in the “Strike Out for Cancer” fundraiser, please contact Keany at kkeany2013@students.curry.edu.

Residence Life Welcomes New Director

BY CHRISTIANNA CASALETTO // OCT. 2, 2015 // 

The director of residence life position was open for several months before Jennifer Maitino stepped in. Maitino started in June, while many of students were home for summer break. Now that the school year is in full swing, she is a new and important face on campus.

Maitino has a very strong background in residence life and higher education. She received a Masters of Education in Educational Policy, Research and Administration with a concentration in Higher Education from the University of Massachusetts. Maitino has her bachelors in psychology from UMASS Amherst as well.

Before coming to Curry, she was the Associate Director of Housing and Residential Life at Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston and worked several years at Bentley University as the Assistant Director of Residence Life following employment as a Residence Director.

Director of Residence Life, Jen Maitino. // PHOTO COURTESY OF CURRY COLLEGE.
Director of Residence Life, Jen Maitino. // PHOTO COURTESY OF CURRY COLLEGE.

Although she enjoyed her time at both Wentworth and Bentley, Maitino said she was looking for a place that had a broader base of academic offerings, which would enable her to work with a variety of students.

“I did miss being on a traditional campus,” Maitino explained. “I saw working at Curry as an opportunity to certainly do some of the things I have done, but also for me to grow professionally and take on more of a leadership role.”

Maitino shared that she was excited to start at Curry where there is already “some good stuff” in the works for Res Life.

“I think it’s great to be able to build and grow a department, but it’s always great when there’s some good seeds planted.”

The only changes currently in the works involve updating the RA training program. According to Maitino, the RA program is moving in “a really solid direction.” Although she isn’t able to work one-on-one with the RA staff as often as she’d like, Maitino works with the RA’s indirectly by creating processes and larger department initiatives. “If we have a really strong and engaged staff then we’re going to be able to engage students.”

There are many misconceptions surrounding Res Life, particularly around the RA position. One of the bigger misconceptions Maitino addressed was that the primary role of an RA is documentation and dealing with negative behavior. “I have yet to meet an RA whose favorite part of the job is having to document students.” She stated that Res Life’s main goal is to build a community and to make the residence halls both physically and emotionally safe. “Ultimately, the Res Life Staff are all in this because we want students to be successful.”

More than anything else, Maitino’s stressed her department’s main goal – making Curry feel like a home for the residents. “Regardless of the physical structure of a building and the layout, whether it’s new, whether it’s old, feeling that sense of connection to the other students in your hall, to the professional staff, to the student staff can make such a difference.” A major component in making this goal a reality are the Residence Assistant and Community Director staff, which Maitino said she has the upmost confidence in.

Residence Life Professional Staff. // PHOTO COURTESY OF CURRY COLLEGE.
Residence Life Professional Staff. // PHOTO COURTESY OF CURRY COLLEGE.

Although Maitino has only been a Colonel for four months, she’s already bleeding purple. When asked “Why Curry?” Maitino was quick to answer with excitement. She is thoroughly enjoying being part of a community that is continuing to thrive, grow and develop.

“I could do the job anywhere,” Maitino said. “But finding a place where people take pride in the community is not something you can necessarily find everywhere.”

Maitino made the observation that “students, faculty and staff alike are proud to be a part of the Curry community.” Now the proud owner of a Curry sweatshirt, Maitino is excited to show her Curry pride in the cooler fall weather, along with the rest of the Colonels.

RA applications will be available at the end of October to fill positions in January. Applications for full time positions in the 2016-2017 school year will be available in November. The Campus Life office is looking for “quality, qualified students” who are invested in “helping Curry be the best place it can be.”

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.

Squeezed for Space

BY BRANDAN BLOM // NOV. 16, 2012 //

Curry’s Milton campus is pretty big; 135 acres to be exact. But that doesn’t mean space is unlimited.

Entering this academic year, the college didn’t have enough dorms rooms to meet the unexpected demand. As a result, 33 lounges across four different residence halls were converted into makeshift dorm rooms to accommodate undergraduates who wanted to live on campus. There are approximately 1,380 students who live on campus, according to the college.

Curry didn’t anticipate such a high number of campus housing requests for the 2012-2013 school year. // COURTESY PHOTO //

The reason for the shortage was that more returning students sought campus housing than in previous years, said Erik Muurisepp, director of Residence Life & Housing. In addition, the college converted the Cottage residence hall—which featured 10 beds—into faculty office space this summer.

As a stopgap solution, Curry turned common-usage spaces in 886, NCRH, White House and Milton Hall into private dorm rooms. Each room could house two or three students. The common rooms were already walled off and included doors, so the college mostly just had to purchase metal wardrobes for students’ clothes. The final cost, according to Muurisepp, was “maybe a few thousand dollars.”

The lounges in White House and the first floor of NCRH have already been converted back into common rooms, as traditional dorm rooms have opened up due to students no longer attending Curry or students deciding to move off campus. However, Muurisepp said some of the common rooms would remain temporary housing through the spring semester.

The students who were placed in the common rooms were late in submitting their housing deposits; the deadline was July 15. Muurisepp said he thinks the college can prevent overcrowding in the future by accepting only the first 850 housing deposits from returning students. After that, students would have to wait for space to open up.

Although some students have openly complained about losing common-room space, those living in the rooms are relatively happy. The converted common rooms are spacious and the ones in 886 come equipped with a sink, microwave and a stovetop. David Haddad, an English major living in one of these rooms, said he would rather be living in a conventional dorm room—preferably on the south side of campus—but said “the [common] room is a nice set up in the meantime.”

Haddad added that he is not upset with the college because the situation was his own doing. “I signed up late, so I’m kind of to blame,” said Haddad. “But if I’m still here next semester, I’ll be a little pissed.”

Stanley Sainterlien, a sophomore management major who was moved out of one of the common rooms and is now living in a double in 886, said he would have preferred to stay in the lounge because of all the space he had. “It turned out to be nice!” said Sainterlien.

Given the strains on the college to provide housing to all students who want it, and the age and conditions of some existing dorms, Muurisepp said Curry would likely have to build a new residence hall in the near future if enrollment was to expand. “I’ve heard rumors of a new building, but it is not something that has been openly talked about,” he said.

While there are no plans for new housing construction in the next year, Muurisepp added that the college would be better prepared to meet students’ residential needs moving forward.

“I think we will be able to plan better,” he said. “We will be more open and honest with the students in the future.”