Growing class size, same dormitories

Eight freshmen shared living spaces with resident assistants

Eight freshmen shared living spaces with resident assistants

Editor-in-chief

The expectation of dorm life was abandoned this semester by eight first-time freshmen when they were informed they would be living with a resident advisor instead of a fellow freshman once they moved onto campus.

“We only have 1,383 beds on campus, so when those are full, we have to get creative on where we can go from there,” Residence Life Director Alicia Vela said. “We guarantee every first year student a bed space.”

Without enough beds to accommodate all incoming freshmen, some are placed with their resident advisor, or RA, nearly every year. Before this semester, however, they have been moved to other rooms by the 12th class day, Vela said.

The eight freshmen living with RAs were originally told that they would be moved into another room by the 12th class day, but as that day approached and not enough students were dropping out of their spots, Residence Life had to retract their statement.

“At this point we are really changing our time frame, we are anticipating these students being in the RA room for the rest of the semester,” Vela said.

What is causing the unexpected overflow this year, according to Vela, is the large number of Austin-based students wanting to live on campus. Generally, most students whose families live in the Austin-area continue to live at home to save money.

Vela attributes the increase in these students choosing to live on-campus to the positive publicity surrounding residence life, plus the difficulties of commuting through Austin.

When freshman Meredith Magee finally made her decision to attend St. Edward’s University, she was placed on the wait list for housing. She was told at orientation that she would be living in a RAs room in Le Mans Hall.

Magee has been unsure when and if she would be moving out of her original room, so she has not been able to fully make her room her own.

“It’s been stressful not having my own place, all my stuff is in boxes under my bed or in my car,” Magee said.

The unique living situation has also affected her relationships.

“If you have your freshmen roommate, you have someone at least to go places with,” Magee said. “So it’s been harder for me to make friends.”

The living situation is a two-fold problem for Magee. Not only is she dealing with not having a freshmen roommate but living with an upperclassmen, especially one with such a unique lifestyle as an RA, comes with its difficulties as well.

Magee’s roommate started the semester with a room full of furniture so when Magee moved in, there was not much room left.

“She has a couch and a coffee table,” Magee said. “My bed is in the corner.”

The fact that her roommate must constantly be at the attention of her residents affects Magee as well.

 “People are knocking on the door like every five seconds,” she said.

Magee, a first-time college student from Rockwall, Texhas said that not being able to establish a routine in her new life as a college student has caused anxiety.

“I had a breakdown within the first week,” Magee said. “I don’t want it to affect my academics too much.”

For Magee, the experience does have its few advantages.

“In a way it’s been helpful, I can ask her questions. She’s been helpful to get me involved,” Magee said in reference to her RA roommate.

Email requests for comment went unanswered by all of the current RAs who were contacted by Hilltop Views.

Although they are made aware when accepting their position of the possibility that they might live with a student, RAs generally expect to have their own room.

“[As an RA] you’re around people all the time, that is the one place in the entire world where you don’t have to be in RA mode,” Colin Stonecipher, a former RA, said. “If you don’t have that one place, it’s really suffocating.”

According to Stonecipher, the goal of an RA is to “be friendly but maintain an air of responsibility” and having students in RA rooms would “mess with the dynamic of the floor” and is “not conducive to being able to fill your needs in putting students first.”

Despite the disadvantages of those involved, Residence Life is focusing on the positives of the situation.

“I’m so glad that so many students want to live with us. Living on campus makes it easier to be involved,” Vela said. “We are excited that students have decided that they want to live with us.”

Shortly before publication, Magee was given a new room assignment with a fellow freshmen.