The Yale College Dean’s Office announced that rising seniors will have the option to live in mixed-college, on-campus housing.
Dean of Student Affairs Camille Lizarríbar announced the new housing option — which will be located in Arnold Hall at 304 Elm Street — in an email to all juniors last week. Only students in the class of 2021 are eligible for this housing, which includes six doubles, six triples, two quads and 21 singles. Students who want to occupy the housing next academic year will have to fill out an application on Vesta. “This housing has been created in response to interests from students who want to live on campus but with friends who belong to different colleges,” Lizarribar’s email read.
This is the latest move in a recent effort to keep students on campus. Last year, the Yale College Council Fall Survey found that 40 percent of seniors lived off campus — prompting administrators to search for a solution as the center of campus continued to shift away from the residential colleges. The past decade has seen a relative increase in the percentage of students living off campus, according to the survey. The latest survey found that only two-thirds of students “are satisfied or very satisfied with the facilities of their residential college.”
Since becoming Yale College Dean, Marvin Chun has made improving the quality of residential college life a major priority. Chun suggested several strategies for keeping students on campus, such as late-night dining options and mixed-college housing — both of which will be successfully completed by August, when the dorms open. While next year’s housing option is limited to a single building, Chun told the News in 2018 that the Council of the Heads of College are working on a proposal for a block of buildings designed to house students in different colleges.
“The YCC has produced two Residential College reports in the past two years that detail students opinions on Residential College life,” YCC President Kahlil Greene ’21 said. “A common critique that was brought up was that students felt separated from their classmates in other colleges. We are excited to see that advocacy and administrator support resulted in this new provision.”
In an email to the News, Lizarríbar said that annex housing was always “part of the conversation” regarding residential colleges due to “fluctuations in demand” for on campus housing. After Chun expressed interest in “exploring new ideas,” Arnold Hall was decided as the location since it was used as housing in the past.
According to Lizarríbar, for the last two years Arnold Hall served as office space for academic departments. She added that during the summer the building will be returned to its “original housing layout and purpose.” When asked about the future of this housing option, Lizarríbar said that if it is successful they “certainly” want to keep it moving forward.
“Other mixed-college annex housing options in the future will depend on the general demand for on-campus housing and on how we can best support our residential colleges and meet the different housing needs of our students,” Lizarríbar said.
Juniors interviewed by the News expressed mixed feelings towards the new housing.
Lauren Gatta ’21 told the News that the new housing location “was [more] interesting,” than the option of living with students from other colleges. While she noted that the new category seems like “a good thing,” she said that she would not “personally opt for it.” She cited that this option lacks the perks of a buttery or living near a dining hall, like residential colleges.
Since most of her close friends will live in her residential college next year, Julia Sanderson ’21 told the News she does not have any “major incentive” to leave. Still, she noted that she understands why other juniors would choose this new housing option.
Minahil Nawaz ’21 said that while at first she thought it “could be pretty cool,” she realized that the space is located far away from the facilities she would want to use daily — like her college dining hall, gym and buttery.
“I also wasn’t sure if it’d provide the same community my college does, the space compared to Timothy Dwight dorms, and how many people would actually end up living there due to the limited number of suites available,” she said. “Honestly, housing is a difficult process on its own, so it might just be a better alternative for first years and sophomores still solidifying friend groups and suites.”
Juniors are invited to a reception in the space on Feb. 26 to tour the facility.
Alayna Lee | firstname.lastname@example.org