Photo by Miguel Webber

Photo by Miguel Webber

Newly elected SGA president Sean McCutchen and vice president Adam Mueller have high hopes of lowering the on-campus living requirement of three years to two. McCutchen feels that the three-year requirement was unnecessary and it has become an older more redundant rule that is not necessary for the current set of students now living on Trinity’s campus.

“It made a lot more sense when the city wasn’t as spread out as it is. Now I think that juniors are a completely different animal, and I think it’s unfair for students to go straight from the dorm life where you’re sheltered and very on campus and all of a sudden you’re off campus paying utilities and having to do all these things you have to do associated with living off campus,” said McCutchen.

Starting in 1996, the living requirement was changed from two years to three years to encourage a stronger sense of community on campus.

“I think this goes back to when president Calgaard was running the university and I think he was the driving force behind it,” said David Tuttle Dean of students and associate vice president for student affairs. I think he had transformed the institution into a higher profile academic institution and I think he was always committed to balancing that out. I think he was very committed to the entire experience and a way to create that entire experience in and out of the classroom and a way to do that was to have a residency requirement.”

There is the possibility to allow juniors to decide to stay on campus or leave, allowing them to determine whether or not they are ready to fend for themselves. While there are many students who are eager to go off campus there are still some who would rather stay on campus, and continue living in the residence halls.

“Right now as a junior I feel, just from personal experience that I could probably live off campus. It might be a better situation for me and it might better prepare me for independence. It doesn’t have to be a drastic step; it can sort of even start as giving juniors the option of living off campus if they want to do that. There are the facilities here so that is an option,” Mueller said.

Many students are eager to try and make it on their own. One of the larger concerns regarding the on campus living requirement is that of the meal plan. By the time students reach their third year of living on campus they are ready to start making their own meals instead of using the dining services on campus.

“I think that people feel like it’s one thing to have to live on campus for three years but one of the things that drives people off campus is the freedom to prepare their own meals on their own schedule with their own ingredients. It would be another way to remove some of that tension that’s in the environment if we were able to reduce the requirement by a year,” Tuttle said.

The plan to allow juniors to live off campus will be faced with several challenges noted McCutchen.

“The main issue is the fact that we have a contract with Aramark, so we have to fulfill that contract: that’s why they require the meal plans, that’s why they still make you pay your board. So that would need to be reworked in one-way or another. The space itself needs to be filled, whether that means having a larger student body and population or figuring out some way to have those occupied and not just wasted away. So those two things are really the main part, and obviously the financial cost of it,” McCutchen said.

Mueller also noted the empty space in the dorms that would be created if the juniors were to live off campus.

“The big thing in my mind is just the facilities and the buildings are there, so what to do with those buildings once something like that is instituted. Do we make those some kind of recreation buildings or university center or something? Some sort of economic way to use those and to recycle that space,” Mueller said.

Future ideas and plans to implement new policy will be presented by the Presidential Advisory Committee to Dr. Fischer.

“We are going to put together a committee to represent students, that meet with the president on a regular basis so it’s going to be leaders of organizations like: Honor Council, Conduct Board, Greek Council, Tuvac, Trinity Diversity Connection, and Student Athlete Advisory Committee. Those organizations and the Coalition for Respect which was formed after the sexual assault crisis, along with a few others. The leaders of those plus me and Adam are going to meet on a bi-monthly basis with the president to discuss issues like this and to see what can be done,” McCutchen said.

The Presidential Advisory Committee has yet to have its first official meeting but it will hopefully serve as a way for the university leaders to represent students and ideas when meeting with President Fischer.

The plan to allow juniors to live off campus will face several challenges, McCutchen noted.

“The main issue is the fact that we have a contract with Aramark, so we have to fulfill that contract: that’s why they require the meal plans. That’s why they still make you pay your board. So that would need to be reworked in one-way or another,” McCutchen said. “The space itself needs to be filled, whether that means having a larger student body and population or figuring out some way to have those occupied and not just wasted away. So those two things are really the main part, and obviously the financial cost of it.”

Mueller explained the complications of the empty space in the dorms that would be created if juniors were allowed to live off campus.

“The big thing in my mind is just the facilities and the buildings are there, so what to do with those buildings once something like that is instituted. Do we make those some kind of recreation buildings or university center or something?” Mueller said. “Some sort of economic way to use those and to recycle that space.”

Future ideas and plans to implement new policy will be presented by the Presidential Advisory Committee to Fischer.

“We are going to put together a committee to represent students, that meet with the president on a regular basis so it’s going to be leaders of organizations like: Honor Council, Conduct Board, Greek Council, TUVAC, Trinity Diversity Connection and Student Athlete Advisory Committee. Those organizations and the Coalition for Respect which was formed after the sexual assault crisis, along with a few others,” McCutchen said. The leaders of those plus me and Adam are going to meet on a bi-monthly basis with the president to discuss issues like this and to see what can be done.”

The Presidential Advisory Committee has yet to have its first official meeting but it looks forward to being a way for the university leaders to represent students and ideas when meeting with President Fischer.