Summer students sparse in residence halls

Kate Snyder and Kate Snyder

Last fall and spring, sophomore James Cheffen lived in Offenhauer. He was one of hundreds of students living on one of the 10 floors in one of the two wings of Offenhauer. This summer, Cheffen is living in McDonald North and is one of only 50.

According to the University Web site, about 7,000 students live on campus during the fall and spring semesters.

This summer there are fewer than 50 students total living in the dorms. There is only one wing of McDonald open to students. The rest of the residence halls are being used for camps and conferences.

Sarah Waters, director of residence life at the University, said McDonald North was chosen as this summer’s dorm because it is close to the center of campus and is also farther away from some of the construction projects.

Waters said summer is a time when a lot of building, rebuilding and renovating take place at the University, and because of their location, students living in McDonald North will be spared some of the noise and disruption from those projects.

Cheffen said living on campus during the summer isn’t bad, but it’s harder to get involved because there are fewer activities.

‘There are so many things going on in the regular semester,’ he said. ‘A lot of that stuff doesn’t happen in the summer.’

But the quiet atmosphere also has a positive side.

‘It’s a lot easier to stay focused on classes,’ Cheffen said.

Waters said one reason fewer people live in the dorms during the summer is because there are fewer students around in general. People who live in the dorms must also be registered students, and because there are fewer students, there are also fewer on-campus residents. Waters said more people commute or sign outside leases during the summer as well, which also drives the number down.

‘Living on campus is certainly an option,’ she said, ‘but the numbers are not as high as we would like them to be.’

Freshman Bobby Shey said the lack of on-campus students actually makes life kind of comfortable.

‘It’s slow, but it’s relaxing,’ he said. ‘You don’t have to wait in line for food and stuff.’

Shey said the lower numbers are also good for classes because professors are able to give students more one-on-one attention.

In general, Waters said, dorm life during the summer is similar to life during fall and spring semesters, just more laid back. There are fewer floor programs and outreach events because most summer residents are not first year students. They kind of know what they are doing and have their own direction.

‘There is definitely the hope that there’s some community able to be built,’ she said, ‘[but] it’s generally a very quiet community.’