Ivies ponder freshman housing

With housing draws fast approaching, many Yalies have begun searching for dream rooms in their residential colleges.

Members of the Class of 2008 do not get to choose their future suitemates or their rooms. About 1,000 incoming freshmen will live on Old Campus in close proximity to their classmates. But other schools in the Ivy League house their freshmen differently.

Princeton assigns its freshmen to one of five colleges, the Princeton Web site says. Dartmouth’s Web site says the college houses students from all four classes in its traditional residence halls. Harvard’s Web site says freshmen live around Harvard Yard “to bond as a class.” Cornell Administrative Assistant Alicia Drake said Cornell puts its freshmen on the college’s North Campus. Though roommates are assigned by lifestyle, Drake said, students can request to live with someone they know.

The University of Pennsylvania’s Web site says students can select their house but that some dormitories have more freshmen than others. The college’s Undergraduate Assembly recently passed a resolution recommending that all freshmen have the option of living in “freshman-centralized housing,” the Daily Pennsylvanian reported in an article last week.

Yale College Dean of Student Affairs Betty Trachtenberg said she has heard different opinions on how Yale freshmen should be housed. Trachtenberg said she would like freshmen to live in their colleges, but she said Yale has no choice but to put freshmen on Old Campus because the colleges do not have enough room.

“Some people think it’s better to have them together as a class on Old Campus,” Trachtenberg said. “Other people think it’s better to have them in the colleges. At this point there’s no alternative.”

Most freshmen who do not live on Old Campus are in Silliman or Timothy Dwight colleges.

Though he said freshmen in Silliman and Timothy Dwight can still meet people from other colleges, former Saybrook College Housing Committee Chairman Brad Kahn ’04 said centralized freshman housing on Old Campus is a good idea.

“Giving an incoming class the chance to get to know each other by putting them in one place — is practical for the housing system at Yale,” he said.

Timothy Dwight housing committee member Elana Rosenthal ’06 said the college used to put its freshmen in the four corners of the college. But since the renovation of Timothy Dwight, most freshmen have been assigned to rooms in one area of the college, she said.

Rosenthal said some freshmen in the college are disappointed when they find out over the summer that they will not be living on Old Campus.

“Initially when everyone got their letters they were like, ‘Oh no, I wish I was on Old Campus,'” Rosenthal said. “You kind of feel like you got a raw deal. But once you’ve lived here, most people agree that it’s a better place to live.”

Kahn said he lived in Lanman-Wright Hall during his freshmen year and found living on Old Campus gives freshmen a chance to branch out.

“I loved living on Old Campus,” Kahn said. “It’s easier to meet kids in other colleges. It gets harder once you get older.”

Old Campus
Alyson Sudow
Old Campus

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