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We’ve talked, blogged, and held forums on the 4/2 Commons plan. Here now is an outline for implementing it.

This approach, which is an update of the housing scenarios that President Liebowitz and I described this fall (see the postings below and Ron on Middlebury), will guide this year’s room draw.

Please leave a comment if you have a question, suggestion, or concern. Or, if you like the plan, we’d like to know that too.

Basic Principles

  • Students will typically belong to the same Commons during their four years at Middlebury.
  • First-year students and sophomores will live in their Commons neighborhood. Note that sophomores will still be eligible to live in academic interest houses; second-semester sophomores will be eligible to live in social houses.
  • Juniors and seniors will be free to draw rooms anywhere on campus, except in those residence halls/beds that have been designated for first years and sophomores within the Commons neighborhood.
  • Residence halls occupied by juniors and seniors (e. g. Halls A and B, Voter, the small houses) will not be affiliated with a particular Commons, although specific program spaces (lounge, library, etc) in those halls will be.
  • Juniors and seniors will follow up with Commons Deans and Heads to resolve individual academic and personal matters. However, the RAs who work in unaffiliated halls and houses-and deal with mundane res life issues-will report to a staff member in the Dean of the College office who works closely with the Commons deans.
  • Academic interest houses will no longer be affiliated with particular Commons.

Housing Guidelines

  • Juniors and seniors will participate in open draws based on seniority and random numbers. Commons affiliation will no longer play a role in these draws. These draws will take place online, as they did last year.
  • 8 to 10 beds will be set aside in a residence hall proximate to each Commons office for seniors who wish to “give back” by organizing social events and Commons activities. These beds will be of relatively high quality. Students will apply for these slots by submitting a written proposal to the Commons Head and Dean, who will work with a small group of seniors to decide who gets these beds.
  • Beds will be set aside in each Commons to accommodate all rising sophomores in that Commons. All five Commons will hold separate room draws for their rising sophomores. These internal draws will take place in real time-not online-at social gatherings organized by the Commons.
  • Two special “super blocks”-30 beds each, 60 beds in all-will be available on the ridgeline next year. To be considered for these blocks, student groups must submit a proposal to Doug Adams, Director of CCAL, explaining how they will use the house to support social life on campus. Only juniors and seniors will be eligible for these blocks. Small groups of 5 or 6 students may choose to collaborate with other small groups to make up the larger block of 30 beds. Students, not the administration, will be responsible for forming these coalitions. Representatives from the blocks will sit with IHC, and work with the social houses to generate social activities on the ridgeline.
  • First-year students will be assigned housing as they have been in the past. Beginning next fall, however, all First-Year Seminars will be Commons based.
  • We will expand opportunities for Febs to live in first-year residence halls by allowing a limited number of September first years to change their housing assignments at mid-year, and move into rooms formerly occupied by sophomores and juniors-that is, rooms that have historically been assigned to Febs. These housing swaps will help integrate Febs into the first-year class, and give some September first years other housing options.

14 Responses to “Almost Final Housing Plan for 4/2 Commons”

  1. Sarah F. says:

    I like the plan. One question: Are there still plans to give faculty co-heads funds for commons-based academic-type events? And, as part of that, to combat the sophomore slump?

  2. Tim Spears says:

    Yes, Commons Heads will still have access to funds to support academic/cultural events. And when we put in place a “sophomore year experience” program–still under development–those funds are likely to increase.

  3. Anonymous says:

    what housing will the ridgeline super blocks be composed of?

  4. Tim Spears says:

    Brooker and Palmer are the likely contenders.

  5. Alison says:

    What happens to dorms that are somewhat split between sophomores and juniors, such as Coffrin and Le Chateau? Will there be spaces designated for each class in those dorms, or will the sophomores all draw first?

  6. Tim Spears says:

    We will set aside beds for sophomores in advance of the draw, and those beds will not be available to rising juniors and seniors. Room draw for rising sophomores will take place independently, and within individual Commons. In Le Chateau, a few beds will probably be reserved for rising Atwater sophomores. But the major of Atwater sophomore beds will be located in Coffrin.

    As far as dorm identities are concerned, Coffrin will likely remain a part of Atwater, while Le Chateau will be unaffiliated (though the lounges–like the Grand Salon–may be connected Atwater)

  7. Ryan Kellett says:

    As the lottery part of Room Draw 2008 commences in less than 24 hours, I’d like to draw attention to the first weakness that has already appeared in the new housing system: senior service housing.

    Ross and Atwater filled all “8-10 beds for seniors who wish to give back to the commons.” Cook, Wonnacott, and Brainerd manage to fill a whopping zero beds. But beds aside, the upperclassmen connection to the Commons is really what’s important if the four in four/two is to work. Unfortunately, the senior housing disparity has reared its ugly head and three commons are left with little connection to their upperclassmen who already are mostly absent.

    While nothing can be done now, I recommend a revaluation of this aspect of housing next year because the idea is right but fine tuning is needed to make it work across commons. Congrats on the initial success of housing reform so far. Let’s hope the rest of Room Draw goes smoothly, and I look forward to seeing how new housing arrangements play out socially next year.

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