On Monday evening, College House decisions came out. Two hundred sixty students applied to live in the College Houses, an increase from 247 applications for the 2018-2019 academic year. The most popular houses were Quinby House and Boody-Johnson House, which is new this year.
Stephanie Patterson, associate director of residential education and residential life, who is new to Bowdoin this year, does not believe this year’s application differed much from last year’s. However, she does anticipate a few changes to College House life.
“I think that the first year class gets a lot of support and attention—as they should, because they are transitioning into a completely different environment—but sometimes I think that the sophomore class is expected to know everything since they’ve been here for a year. In reality, when you start your sophomore year, you are essentially a first year and a day,” she said.
Accordingly, Patterson would like to rid sophomore house members of some of the pressure and responsibility that comes with mentoring first years. In particular, Patterson plans to move away from the current buddy system that pairs house members directly with first year students.
“There have been a few occasions where I’ve heard it’s been successful … but I’ve heard a lot more instances where people have not met their buddy … The mentorship piece will still be there, but I’m working to find ways that will make [the connection] a little more intentional.”
Another change to the College House system will be the addition of Boody-Johnson House, which will house approximately 26 students next year. According to Patterson, the renovations of Boody-Johnson are going smoothly; she is particularly excited about the layout of the house.
“I think one of the coolest things about [Boody-Johnson] is that Chase Barn is adjacent to it, but it’s separate from the house, so the social space will be a completely separated area from where people are living,” she said.
She added that applicants were excited for the chance to be the first students to live in the house and start to shape its character and legacy.
“I’m really excited that [Boody-Johnson] hasn’t been a house in the past, so we are the first class that can really establish what it’s going to be like and the vibe that it has,” said Fiona O’Carroll ’22. “I think it will be cool to get to be the founders of a new house.”
Additionally, Boody-Johnson helped to make up for some of the house spots typically occupied by sophomores that were lost after Ladd became an all-senior house this year. While Patterson acknowledged that the construction of Park Row is on the forefront of many students’ minds, she does not believe it impacted the number of applicants to Ladd, especially once rising seniors considered how many students the Park Row apartments can realistically accommodate.
As part of the selection process, first year applicants were interviewed by a faculty or staff member and a student; the interviews allowed applicants to demonstrate how they would contribute to the College House system.
Some first years, including Angelina Joyce ’22, decided not to apply to a College House due to the sizable time commitment.
“I am involved in athletics and other extracurriculars, and I feel that living in a College House would be a big time commitment with planning and hosting events and other house activities,” said Joyce.
However, many first years were excited about the possibility of participating in the College House system next year.
“I think it’s a really great opportunity to have access to the space and the money to influence campus culture,” said Irene Brogdon ’22. “I want to live with an eclectic group of people and have the community that comes with living in a College House.”
Emilia Majersik ’22 agreed, noting that life in College House would allow her to increase her involvement within the Bowdoin community.
“I feel like the stage of meeting people has kind of ended this year, and I want the opportunity to meet more people and make more friends next year,” she said.