Frosh Quad coming together

Michelle Ma

The trek down to South Campus is worth the hike for Jamie Dobie, who would rather walk the long distance to her classes than give up the chance to live in the Freshman Quad.

“The Freshman Quad is everything I thought it would be,” said the Communication freshman, who listed Elder as her first choice when applying to Northwestern.

For some freshman residents, the quad is their main community at NU. But Freshman Quad Area Coordinator Andrew Hinderaker said he doesn’t want residents to lose sight of the whole freshman class and the broader NU community.

“Ultimately, (I hope) at the end of the day they come back here to home,” Hinderaker said. “The goal is that they be excited about the Northwestern community.”

The option of an all-freshmen residential quad was created to add balance to the existing residential programs, said William Banis, vice president for student affairs.

“The idea is to create as many reasonable options (as possible) to meet the needs of our students,” Banis said. “We needed to strike a balance because we have a residential college program that is very important, and we didn’t want to in any way undermine that program’s success.”

Only about 18 percent of freshmen are assigned to the quad to maintain that balance, Banis added.

More than half of all incoming freshmen listed Elder as one of their five residence hall preferences, said Virginia Koch, senior assistant director of residential life.

With a newly elected Freshman Quad government, programming and community building are still developing, Hinderaker said. On Wednesdays, residents alternate between all-floor and all-quad meetings with munchies, which are not well attended, said Freshman Quad President Suzanna Winslow, a Weinberg freshman.

Quad study groups, intramural teams and participation in Homecoming events served to build community, Winslow added.

But it continues to be a challenge to connect Hinman-Lincoln to Elder to round out the Freshman Quad, noted Hinderaker. The Hinman-Lincoln lounges soon will have new furniture and amenities to draw in students, he added.

“(Purchases) are steps to show how valued Hinman-Lincoln residents are as part of the Freshman Quad,” Hinderaker said.

Community building on floors in all residential buildings connects students to the rest of their residence and to NU, Koch said.

Residential assistants on each floor take a lead role in fostering this community, she added.

Some students confirmed the importance of building community on floors.

“All halls are community oriented,” said Elder resident Sandra Dickison, a Weinberg freshman. “RAs have pushed for the community feel.”

Reach Michelle Ma at [email protected]