Kemper not an option for future frosh

Having upperclassmen as neighbors might be more difficult next year for incoming freshmen after housing changes at Kemper Hall and the Foster-Walker Complex.

Kemper will be designated an all-upperclassmen building, and freshmen in Foster-Walker will be grouped on the fourth floor of the west tower, according to a plan recently approved by William Banis, Northwestern’s interim vice president for student affairs.

The policy was approved March 30 and will become effective this fall.

In Kemper this means the 11 suites with four doubles in each suite that previously had been reserved for incoming freshmen will now be open only to sophomores, juniors and seniors.

The lottery method for the Kemper rooms is similar to the process used in 1835 Hinman, where one lottery number can fill multiple spaces in a suite.

Student feedback was an important force behind these changes, Banis said.

He said the University Housing Policy Advisory Committee had received several comments from students expressing concerns that freshmen felt isolated in both dorms.

Banis said he had received feedback from freshmen in Kemper saying if their suitemates did not get along, living there was an uncomfortable experience for them. He also said he had received similar feedback from freshmen in Foster-Walker.

“I think both of these proposals are reasonable, and I think it’s worth trying this for a year,” Banis said. “If it looks like in a year we get some other feedback, we can always go back to the way things were or come up with a new model. We’re trying to be responsive – that’s the bottom line.”

Kingsley Chin-Jer Tang, a Music freshman living in Foster-Walker, agreed there was a problem with students feeling isolated but said she does not think creating an all-freshman section will solve the problem.

“I don’t think it will help,” Tang said. “I think hanging out with only freshmen is bad. Most of my friends are upperclassmen. I had to make a conscious choice to socialize.”

But Natasha Little, a Speech freshman, felt the proposal would be beneficial for some freshmen. Although she said she did not have a problem meeting people, she knew many freshmen who had trouble making friends in Foster-Walker and thought an all-freshman section would help them to meet other students at the beginning of the year.

Students in Kemper also agreed that something needed to be done to help residents transition into college life.

David Shelley, a McCormick freshman, said he agreed with the decision to prevent freshmen from living in Kemper. He called his experience living in Kemper as a freshman a “mixed blessing.”

“[Living in Kemper] is pretty nice,” Shelley said. “But I feel like I might have missed out on the freshman experience – like living in a dorm where all the doors are open. I don’t know what that would be like.”