Large first year class presents new and unique challenges for Residential Life staff

With the current incoming class, residential life is preparing to tackle a larger challenge with one of the largest in recent years. With an estimated 100 student increase, new issues over housing and staffing of residential life members have surfaced.

Despite the substantial increase, Melissa Flowers, assistant director of residential education, remains positive that the residential life staff will have no problems.

“100 people does indeed make a difference,” Flowers said. “Multiply that number by how many parents and family and siblings might be here and it will certainly feel a bit different the next couple days.”

To ResLife member and sophomore Madison Schwarzer, the large class may require some extra attention but should pose no substantial difference from past years.

“It’s definitely more to take care of for sure especially since our campus is a bit small,” Schwarzer said. “Otherwise I don’t see any problems.”

Even with the sizable increase, living space remains plentiful on campus””the use of McLean Hall provides housing for both upper-and lower -classmen.

“This class is very large. They are taking up all the first floor and two thirds of the second,” Flowers said. “Last year we didn’t use any first year spots in McLean.”

Along with the flexibility in housing, the number of ResLife in upper-class areas can be shifted to accommodate such an increase.

“What we do is move some of the hall managers over to the residential advisor role or RAs over to the residential mentor role,” Flowers said. “It is really important to us to have a one to 20 ratio in the first year area since those students need a little more attention and assistance.”

With such flexibility in terms of physical space and staffing allocation, the larger incoming class is not alarming for the Residential Life staff. Although a continued trend may put stress on the university, such a forecast is in doubt by many individuals.

“I don’t see this trend continuing,” Flowers said. “From what I understand it is not a goal to increase the population of campus, what we have now is a good fit.”

To many, this years’ increase is just another example of the great things happening on campus at Trinity, from finalized construction projects to a variety of student groups.

“We just got a lot of interest  with the renovations and the science building and just all the neat stuff going on around on campus,” Flowers said.  “It is an exciting place to be right now.”

Although many of the issues raised by a larger class may affect ResLife, the first years themselves are also affected by their class size.

“It can definitely be overwhelming for them already,” Schwarzer said. “But with so many people they will be able to find even more people to fit in with and will have more opportunities.”

According to junior Zachary Galvin, the class size only allows for a more engaged group on campus, providing more involvement in groups

“With such an increase I think we’ll see more participation in various groups like Greek life and sports,” Galvin said. “It will be nice to see whatever the new class brings to the groups and organizations on campus.”

It’s not only organizations that are looking forward to a boost; with a larger audience students are hopeful for more event participation throughout the year.

“[The class of 2018] will only add more involvement in campus events, like the Welcome Week concert,” Galvin said.

Staff and students remain excited for the new class of 2018.

“We are always excited over the vibrancy the new class brings to campus,” Flowers said. “It’s the most important part of the year for us.”