I remember my freshman year like it was yesterday. Freshman year was a time when I was figuring out who I was while also navigating my new environment at VWC. To say that it was difficult is an understatement.
One thing that helped me integrate into the VWC community was living in communal-style housing.
I had a great roommate, entertaining hallmates and a fantastic RA who were all within a close walk if I needed to talk to someone. Sharing bathrooms and showers may not be ideal for most people, but I think that communal style living is essential.
When I heard new students were coming into the Batten Honors College, I was excited. I was intrigued to see how the culture of our campus would be affected. But when I heard they would live in Village IV, I had mixed feelings.
If you don’t know what the Batten Honors College is, it is the replacement for the Honors and Scholars program here. The program will admit 40 students, with 20 of them getting full-tuition scholarships.
This program is so great for our community. It is bringing so many different kinds of students to our campus. It will also bring in much more opportunity for this group to be successful on campus and in its future. But what I am worried about is the new Marlins having the opportunity to fully integrate into the campus community.
I feel as though there is a stigma about living in the townhouses and not coming out of your house. I have seen it and I am worried that the luxury of honors housing will keep our new students contained, especially at a time when they are at their most vulnerable.
As an RA for first-year students, I had the job of not only being a resource for my residents, but also integrating them into the community. This was the most important part of my job because if freshmen do not feel like they will fit into the community, they will leave. Those first few weeks are crucial in this aspect and communal living helps with that.
Now don’t get me wrong, I do think that this is a prestigious opportunity and the students deserve to be recognized with the luxury of living in Village IV. These students worked hard to get here and they deserve to have the best of the best. But I think that they will miss out on the opportunity to live as a communal community in a hall.
I think those involved in integrating these students will have a hefty job. They need to make sure they are programming and building relationships with our Batten Honors students so that they can have a great Marlin experience.
(Photo: Val Miller | Marlin Chronicle)