McLean. Photo by Anh-Viet Dinh.

McLean. Photo by Anh-Viet Dinh.

Verna McLean Hall, located on the east side of campus in the first-year quad, is unlike other first-year residence halls in that it houses both first years and upperclassmen.

“Each year we estimate how many spaces to save for first years when we allow upperclassmen to sign up for rooms. Last year we didn’t use all of the space we had saved, so we were able to offer singles for upperclassmen—this year was just the opposite,” said Wanda Olson, director of residential life.

The first-year class—at approximately 660 students—is the largest that Trinity has experienced in over 10 years. Residential life receives the number of students who have made a deposit at Trinity around the middle of May, but they normally anticipate “summer melt.”

“We’ll have first-year students who deposit at more than one university,” Olson said. “You usually have some of what is called ‘summer melt’ as students decide where they’re going, but we hardly had any melt this year.”

Due to the large incoming class, additional suites on the second floor of McLean were opened up for first years. In order to open these suites, several juniors who had signed up in the spring to live in McLean were forced to relocate.

“We received an email from Lisa Chapa near the end of July, basically just explaining how they underestimated the amount of incoming freshmen they were going to have,” said Mark Atkins, a junior. “They wanted to keep all the first years together, so some juniors would have to leave McLean. I was a casualty.”

After deposits were due in May, ResLife waited almost two months before sending out emails.

“I waited as long as I could to see if we would get any first-year melt, so that’s a double-edged sword there. The longer I wait to tell upperclassmen, the more they’re upset,” said Lisa Chapa, housing assignments coordinator. “But I was waiting longer to see if I’d get cancellations and not have to move as many students.”

The juniors who were moved out of McLean were asked to choose their top three residence halls between Isabel, Myrtle, Susanna, South and the first floor of Thomas. Students who responded quickly to Chapa’s email—like Atkins—were able to move into their first choice.

“I lived on McLean my first year and I really liked it,” Atkins said. “I was looking forward to being back, so I’m kind of disappointed to be in Isabel. But I do understand.”

According to Chapa, not all students asked to move from McLean were as understanding as Atkins. Several were angry that first years would be given better housing locations than upperclassmen.

“We did have a few students who were pretty upset about it and were really vocal, but there was really nothing we could do. It was out of our control because I had to house our first years,” Chapa said.

Though the McFarlins—Isabel, Myrtle and Susanna—were scheduled to be renovated next, these residence halls had to be left open for the upperclassmen who could no longer live in McLean. North is scheduled to be renovated beginning in January.