Davenport seeks freshman counselors

Next year’s crop of Davenport freshmen may find graduate students instead of seniors greeting them outside Welch, as Davenport juniors have been reluctant to forsake their newly renovated college and live as freshman counselors on old campus next fall.

As of the Jan. 31 deadline for freshman counselor applications, only three Davenport juniors, none of them male, had turned in applications for counselorships. Davenport Master Richard Schottenfeld along with other Davenporters said the lure of a newly renovated college, combined with the desire to live in the Davenport community after a year in Swing Space, is responsible for the lack of applications.

Hoping to attract more applicants, Davenport Dean Peter Quimby extended the freshman counselor deadline to Feb. 15.

“I know from past experience that most counselors describe their experience as one of the most meaningful aspects of their undergraduate careers,” Quimby said in an e-mail to Davenport juniors in late January. “As much as we might be looking forward to enjoying the benefits of the renovation, I doubt that living in suites without warped floor boards will rise to the level of ‘most meaningful experience at Yale!'”

Davenport Master Richard Schottenfeld said he did not know if any more applications were turned in by the new deadline but said if there is a gender imbalance in the pool, or if there are more positions than applicants, the college will open up counselorships to graduate school students.

“We’ll make contact with people in the grad school and get recommendations,” Schottenfeld said.

Schottenfeld said Davenport had a “terrific” Law School student in the recent past who served as a freshman counselor.

Davenport junior Alexander Dadok said he did not apply to be a freshman counselor because he is looking forward to rejoining the residential community after a year living in Swing Space.

“I’m in Swing Space this year,” Dadok said. “I feel like I haven’t lived all the way on campus for a year. More than the building being nice, it’s the fact that we couldn’t live there last year.”

Amelia Reid, another Davenport junior, also said she missed living in the college during her year in Swing Space and added that many of her friends who live off campus this year will move back onto campus next year. Although she said she considered applying for a counselorship, she ultimately decided the benefits of the new and improved Davenport would be greater than the satisfaction of being a freshman counselor.

“I had originally considered it because I thought that it’d be a way to give back to the college, but decided against it on the grounds of other senior commitments and wanting to be a part of the Davenport community,” Reid said.

Schottenfeld said he understood students’ desire to return to their college home.

“People have been very clear about wanting to move back into Davenport,” he said.

The renovations of Pierson College last year caused a similar drop in their pool of freshman counselor applicants for this year, said current Pierson freshman counselor Sarah Chang ’05.

“A lot of it was due to the fact that people wanted to live in renovated Pierson and there were all kinds of new facilities,” Chang said.

But at this time last year, Pierson, unlike Davenport, had more applicants than positions, and so did not have to deal with the shortage now facing Davenport.

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