On August 25, returning upperclassmen moved into the residence halls to start a brand new year. While 2,700 students returned to the residence village, 284 students not only embarked on a new year, but they moved into brand new on-campus townhouses.
The New Founder’s Student Townhouses have been highly anticipated for almost a year now, as construction broke ground last November, and lasted until July 30.
According to Dominic Petruzzelli, director of Residence Life, the University decided to expand the number residence halls, but with a different approach.
“The Board of Trustees based the decision on building for the Townhouses on a benchmark study of other institutions that offered cutting-edge living spaces,” Petruzzelli said.
Students had to meet certain stipulations in order to be chosen to live in the townhouses. This was based on GPA, class ranking and judicial points. The townhouses are so popular that there is a separate waiting list for them, aside from the seven other housing areas.
The four- and- a- half buildings stand out from the traditional residence village in various ways. Each apartment has three bedrooms (triples and doubles) between seven people.
A kitchen is included with an oven, stovetop, full-size refrigerator and a dining table with chairs. There is also a living room area with a loveseat and plush chairs around a small coffee table.
Along with the kitchen and living room area, there are two traditional bathrooms on either end of the apartment. They are the only dorms on campus that feature a kitchen area with a working oven.
“The townhouses are less structured than the residence village, and is considered independent living that is still within the gates,” Petruzzelli said. The townhouses are more expensive to live in than the other seven other dormitories.
A standard double and triple in the regular dorms cost $7,900 a year. In the townhouses however, it costs $8,750. Another difference is that meal plans are not required for residents of the new building, because of the accessibility of the kitchen.
For months there has been speculation about visitation policies and regulations regarding the new townhouses, and how they were going to be stipulated. According to Petruzzelli, there are five Resident Assistants scattered throughout the buildings, and the same policies are intact. Students who wish to have visitors over do not need to sign in their guests, since there is no front desk.
Visitors must be out at the same time as the other on-campus housing sites, and overnight guests will still have to register with Public Safety. Public Safety will still be surveying the area, and it is necessary to swipe into the stairwell of the building and the front door of the apartment.
“The honor system is enforced here, because there is no front desk,” Petruzzelli said. “There is a sense of greater responsibility that comes with the independent living.”
Students will also be under a keener eye because of the heightened sense of responsibility.
“Students who violate these rules will have to deal with a consequence, and there will be an evaluation of what would be the best way to handle the situation,” Petruzzeli said. “If students cannot handle or thrive, then they will be moved to the more structured dormitories.”
There are high hopes for the new structure from not only faculty but also students. One of the new residents, sophomore Claudia Titolo, is pleased with the new structures. “It is really a nice environment and setting,” she said.
Petruzelli feels the same, “My hope is that students will grow even further as a person so that they are even more prepared to leave the gated community of the University after graduation.”