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Confusion ensues on campus as Residential Life moves office

As students returned from break they found a few things changed, mainly, (almost) all the offices in Pearsons had shifted. While the Registrar remained unmoved, Residential Life had been relocated to a variety of locations, all of which were on the residential side of campus. The main Reslife office had moved to Whitney Hall, while other members of Reslife were scattered about between Aldrich, Blaisdell, and Porter. Now, instead of heading to Pearsons to get all of one’s back to school errands done, this process could involve not only going to second floor of Pearsons, but also going to multiple residence halls trying to find the right person. While still in Pearsons, Student Engagement and Leadership (SEAL), Accounting, and Financial Aid have shifted locations as well. 

The only notification given about the move was a singular e-mail from the Dean of Students over break, one which could easily fall through the cracks with the constant stream of stuboards and Terrariums sent while students were off campus.

In the e-mail, the reason for the move given was that “embedding staff in the residence hall offers more convenient student access, will facilitate stronger relationships between students and staff, and will enhance overall responsiveness to residential questions and concerns”. However, the e-mail ignores a few things. For one, not all students live on campus, and even of those who do, not all live in close proximity to Whitney and the other dorms, with students scattered around in special interest houses such as Music House and Feminist Collective, as well as in apartments off-campus and other housing which is just as close to Pearsons. Additionally, often errands, especially those at the beginning and end of a semester, require going to many offices just to complete a simple task, such as picking up keys for various organizations and clubs. Having to go to many different buildings to complete one errand also creates accessibility issues, and can make it more difficult for students to complete tasks.

Additionally, the residence halls are one of the few places on campus which are typically faculty and staff free. While the Health and Wellness Center is in Porter, it is the only office which was previously in a residential building (excluding Commons). Moving the many Reslife staff into various residential buildings takes the privacy offered by student housing away from students, who previously had hall directors as the only non-students who regularly resided in the buildings.

If students don’t know where to find certain members of staff, because either they didn’t read or can’t remember what a singular e-mail said, it can actually make it harder rather than easier for students to get their concerns about Reslife answered. They may end up going to the wrong office or individual, and rather than being directed to someone fifteen feet away, they have to go out looking in other buildings.

This move does not make finding and getting questions answered by Reslife any easier, and also was not well publicized enough. The school needs to more clearly label and direct students to the new offices, and truly consider if the move is succeeding in its goal.

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