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.
â€œEach year we estimate how many spaces to save for first years when we allow upperclassmen to sign up for rooms. Last year we didnâ€™t use all of the space we had saved, so we were able to offer singles for upperclassmenâ€”this year was just the opposite,â€ said Wanda Olson, director of residential life.
The first-year classâ€”at approximately 660 studentsâ€”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 â€œsummer melt.â€
â€œWeâ€™ll have first-year students who deposit at more than one university,â€ Olson said. â€œYou usually have some of what is called â€˜summer meltâ€™ as students decide where theyâ€™re going, but we hardly had any melt this year.â€
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.
â€œWe 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,â€ said Mark Atkins, a junior. â€œThey wanted to keep all the first years together, so some juniors would have to leave McLean. I was a casualty.â€
After deposits were due in May, ResLife waited almost two months before sending out emails.
â€œI waited as long as I could to see if we would get any first-year melt, so thatâ€™s a double-edged sword there. The longer I wait to tell upperclassmen, the more theyâ€™re upset,â€ said Lisa Chapa, housing assignments coordinator. â€œBut I was waiting longer to see if Iâ€™d get cancellations and not have to move as many students.â€
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 Chapaâ€™s emailâ€”like Atkinsâ€”were able to move into their first choice.
â€œI lived on McLean my first year and I really liked it,â€ Atkins said. â€œI was looking forward to being back, so Iâ€™m kind of disappointed to be in Isabel. But I do understand.â€
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.
â€œWe 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,â€ Chapa said.
Though the McFarlinsâ€”Isabel, Myrtle and Susannaâ€”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.