College Houses were once centers of social life on campus. But due to COVID-19, they have been forced to reimagine their position. This year, they have become smaller living environments for “pods” of as few as 10 people, forgoing their typical role in campus-wide programming and community building.
More students are expected to live on campus next semester than in past years, primarily due to returns from personal leaves of absence, gap years and decreased participation in study abroad. Despite the projected increase in the on-campus student population, the College is positioned to meet increased demand for housing because of the recent openings of Harpswell and Park Row Apartments.
The College released its Campus Community Agreement on Blackboard Thursday for students who intend to live on campus or be in residence for the spring semester. Dean of Students Kristina Bethea Odejimi also sent the agreement to these students in an email yesterday evening.
On Tuesday, Lisa Rendall, director of residential and housing operations, sent an email to students with information about the Spring Housing Lottery, which, for the first time in Bowdoin’s history, will be conducted entirely online. The College had been planning to conduct the housing lottery online in April, before it was announced that most upperclass students would reside off-campus for the fall 2020 semester.
With most first years living on campus and a majority of sophomores, the House residents during a typical semester, remote, the College Houses are facing a unique set of challenges in facilitating and building community this fall.
After two years of housing juniors and seniors, Ladd House will again house only sophomores for the 2020-2021 academic year, said Director of Residential and Housing Operations Lisa Rendall. College House decisions were sent to applicants on Monday.
After two years as an all-senior College House, Ladd House will accept applications from all class years for the 2020-21 academic year, the Office of Residential Life (ResLife) announced this week. The change comes after ResLife struggled to fill the house with seniors for the 2019-2020 academic year, according to Associate Dean of Student Affairs and Director of Residential & Student Life Mike Ranen.
For eight weekends this fall, College House residents will gather in their respective chapter rooms and embark on an hour-long discussion about the implications of class at Bowdoin. Students will share stories, ask questions and reckon with the issues of class on campus.
Last weekend, College Houses hosted their annual house crawl. This time, however, something was noticeably different: there was less alcohol. Though the College’s policy regarding parties has not changed since last year, the volume of alcohol allowed at College House events has been reduced.
Walking into Reed House basement on Thursday night, you might have been pleasantly surprised—gone are the toppled red solo cups and sticky beer pong table. The space has been scrubbed anew, with colored lights and works of art adorning the walls.
Four students have received court summons in the past two weeks for charges of jaywalking and possession of liquor by a minor. One of those summons resulted after the Brunswick Police Department (BPD) showed up at the annual Cold War party at MacMillan and Quinby Houses last weekend, while the remaining three were issued the previous weekend.
The number of College House applicants reached a five-year low this year, with 247 students competing for approximately 179 spots. The College House applicant pool for next year is smaller than any in the past five years.
In an effort to reduce plastic waste, all eight College Houses will begin using reusable cups in place of traditional single-use cups this semester. Last year, the College Houses used over 25,000 plastic cups, according to the College’s Sustainability Office.
Citing student concerns about the short timeline for applying to live in Ladd House, the Office of Residential Life (ResLife) extended the deadline for the senior-only College House to next Wednesday. ResLife initially notified the junior class that living in Ladd for the 2018-2019 academic year was an option on January 18.
Ladd House, one of the eight College Houses on campus, will be senior-only housing next year if enough rising seniors apply next week. The decision to convert the House, traditionally occupied by sophomores, into senior housing was proposed by a group of juniors, and occurred amid numerous conversations about how to make College housing more appealing to upperclassmen.
The Office of Residential Life (ResLife) revamped College House officer positions for the 2017-2018 academic year in response to feedback from students, who said that work was distributed unequally among the five officer positions. The new House leadership structure eliminates the old positions (president, vice president, treasurer, communications director and programming director) and replaces them with two house chairs and two programming chairs.
The College working group on off-campus housing has been gathering opinions from a broad range of students with a goal of formulating a comprehensive off-campus housing policy to present to the administration later this month. Since forming in February, the group has hosted focus groups, general surveys and two public forums.
Students who applied to live in College Houses for the 2017-2018 academic year received decisions from the Office of Residential Life (ResLife) on Monday. Those who were offered a spot in a College House were required to respond to their offers by Wednesday afternoon.
At a panel entitled “Why do College Houses Feel So White? Part Two” hosted by Reed and Ladd Houses on Wednesday night, students discussed how music, drinking, sports and other factors perpetuate racial divisions—in College Houses and at other parties on and off campus.