Residential life changes give students more responsibility

by Jordan Deane
Shield Staff

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Rochester College residential students are experiencing two substantial changes this year with no curfew and open-house policies.

For the first time in the school’s history, freshmen, who primarily reside in the Alma Gatewood Residential Hall, don’t have to be back in their dorm rooms by midnight on Sundays through Thursday nights and 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights.

Sharia Hays, RC’s new assistant dean of community living, and Adam Baron, dean of students, who is in his second year at the college, initiated the transformations.

“My prompt is, when I come into an institution, to look at what exists and then see what things can we keep and also what things can we change to maybe improve the experience for the students... Some of the changes I looked at were curfew and open-house,” Hays said.

John Hogan, junior Christian ministry major and second year residential adviser, said he believes not having a curfew is good for RC’s community. “The worse thing we can do as Residence Life staff or Rochester College is to tell them [students] they have responsibility and then not give them any.” He says the philosophy change of no curfew gives the freshmen an opportunity to be an adult for the first time away from their parents.

The second massive change in RC’s residential living experience is the new open house policy. Formerly, men and women could visit each other on their floors or rooms on Tuesday and Thursday nights from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Now, students can visit each other seven days a week from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.

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Rules for open houses are the same as they were before: the door must be open at all times, no two people of opposite gender can lie in bed together, and the lights have to be on at all times.

Adina Vanloo, junior theatre major, said she likes the new open house policy. “I feel like people around me complain less,” she said. “Having it seven days a week makes it easier for people to have their friends over.”

In addition to the two new changes to residential living, RC’s Center for Student Life staff continue to search for new ways to enhance the on-campus living experience for students. “I want to do housing signups by students instead of the Resident Life staff,” Hays said. “I want students to be empowered to pick their own room, to pick their own roommates, to do all of that. So I am currently working on figuring out software systems that will help them do that and be a part of that.”

"The Resident Life staff seeks to continue to improve living on campus by empowering students to live independently," Hays said.