Res villages further discussed

Plans are underway for Tech’s first residential villages, aimed at making a large campus seem small and more inviting. The living and learning villages will cater to on- campus and off campus students and will be open to entering freshmen who choose to participate. Student fees and auxiliary funds will pay for the villages, and be of no extra cost to students.

“Having a means to meet people with similar interests would help,” freshman Beth Shaw said, “especially for students like myself who did not know anyone coming into college.”

A majority of freshmen students surveyed said they would consider living within the villages to make friends and become more involved with the university.

Some would not consider the villages because they live off campus or find the program a waste of time. McCord Hall resident Matt Ashton is one of those who disagrees.

“I don’t think I would benefit because I don’t think many people would join and would rather everyone spend their time on something more productive,” Ashton said.

Residential life and the Residence Hall Association, along with Greek life and the Student Government Association are a few groups offering their services to make the program successful. Each residence would have representatives who interact with other villages and make decisions based on student input.

Ed Boucher, dean of students said, “we want to take the best parts of the Greek life community and implement it into our design for the villages.”

Plans are in the deliberation stages, but a coordinating committee is in the process of working on the design for the first two villages to be complete by fall of 2010 in New Hall. If students are ‘apathetic’ about the program, then it will not flourish. The hope is to have 10 residential villages housed in 10 halls.

Provost Jack Armistead said he is optimistic about the potential change in dynamics from the villages.

“The development of villages at Tech should enhance interaction among students and faculty outside the classroom, add student activities and leadership opportunities, and increase student retention,” Armistead said.

Armistead formed a committee over a year ago to research the idea of residential villages. The committee visited three universities, Murray State, Binghamton University, and North Carolina State, where this idea is well established. In the fall of 2008, representatives from these universities were brought in to discuss residential college life.

Don Robertson consultant from Murray State University said, “There are freshmen through graduate students, mixed majors, co- ed that include both residential and commuter students. Every student at Murray State University is a member of one of the colleges.”

Each village will have a theme corresponding to a particular area of academia or interest of campus and inspire student- faculty interactions outside of the classroom. The themes include arts and creativity, service to society and STEM, although the committee is seeking feed back from the student body.

For more information about residential villages, visit http://collegiateway.org or e-mail Dr. Jack Armistead at jarmistead@tntech.edu with any questions or comments.