Benefits bring non-residents back to res colleges

Christina Alexander

Amy Anichini moved into Shepard Residential College as a freshman two years ago, drawn to the college’s large rooms. Now a Weinberg junior, Anichini has moved off campus, but she still has a key to the front door.

“My friends still live there, and I like their activities,” Anichini said. “I can get keys, go to munchies and get tickets to shows.”

Anichini is one of about 39 Northwestern students who maintained their residential college memberships as non-residents this school year, according to Nancy Anderson, coordinator for the residential college program. Many of these non-residents live off campus like Anichini.

NU’s residential college system consists of 11 student residences on both North and South campuses, most of which focus on specific areas of interest such as communication or public affairs. Incoming freshman submit an application to each college’s master.

Once students move out of their residential colleges, they can return for community activities such as formals, firesides and munchies by paying non-resident dues. Shepard Residential College has a position on its executive board for keeping track of non-resident members. The officer’s duties include distributing and collecting keys as well as keeping non-residents informed about dorm activities.

While Medill senior Jamie Madison lived in Communications Residential College, she set up firesides and organized the annual 48-hour radiothon – in which the dorm’s student-run radio station raises money for the American Heart Association. As a non-resident, Madison stays active in the CRC community by mentoring younger students, she said.

Some students choose to disaffiliate themselves from their residential colleges after they leave their old rooms.

“Reasons why students do not stay members of residential colleges vary but can often be attributed to a decision to become part of a new community, like the Greek system,” Anderson said.

Weinberg junior Jeff Brenman said he chose not to continue his Willard Residential College membership because he no longer felt tied to the dorm’s community. Willard, a multi-themed residential college, did not specifically cater to his major, he said.

“I applied to live there because it seemed the res colleges had really nice rooms,” Brenman said. “I chose Willard because of what I heard about its reputation through word-of-mouth.”

But Anichini said living in a multi-themed residential college didn’t take away from programming.

“In Shepard there was no theme, so firesides were based on what we wanted,” she said. “It was catered to us.”

Some colleges offer residents benefits based on their common interests, which encourages non-residents not to give up their membership. Jones Residential College President Joe Schermoly said members enjoy privileges, such as discounted tickets to Chicago shows and access to art studios within the building.

“All the residents of Jones are allowed into the shows for free,” the Weinberg junior said. “As a resident you’re saving yourself five dollars every time you come to see a show.”

The Daily’s Jasett Chatham contributed to this article.

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