Zimple House to be newest addition to LLC communities

Brandi Doyal, Staff Reporter

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Housing and Residence Life has been changing the housing experience during the last few years, starting with the establishment of Wall Residential College in 2003. Weatherhead Residential College, which opened in Fall 2011, and Zimple House, planned for Fall 2014, also follow the residential college model.  

A residential college is a living-learning community that is comprised of several aspects of student education external to the classroom. The residential colleges have a live-in professor, and residents are required to join committees with varying goals. This model encourages students of all classes to live in a single environment.

Assistant vice president of student affairs for HRL Ross Bryan said having a greater mix of students within a residence creates a better community. Zimple, like Wall, will house freshmen through seniors. Weatherheadis scheduled to open to sophomores through seniors in fall 2014. Currently, it only houses sophomores. 

“We are trying to move away from ‘this is a completely freshmen community’ or ‘this is a completely sophomore community,’ because that isn’t the best way to build a community,” Bryan said. “I think the best way to build a community is to have a larger smattering of freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors because it helps with social norming.”

The new facilities supply students with opportunities outside of the classroom to engage in activities that interest them. Bryan said the living-learning community residential colleges provide has been a national movement in recent years.

One of the main differences between the normal residence hall and the residential college model is the addition of a live-in professor. Associate Director for Residential Education Danielle Klein said she thinks adding a live-in professor to the community enriches the academic environment of the living space.

“How we do that is partnering with different departments and having faculty live in the halls and take an interest in what is happening in them,” Klein said. “[Live-in professors] direct some of the life and development curriculum that goes on in the hall.”

Junior Brandon Kaplan, a former president of Wall Residential College, said he thinks the environment of the residential college is better than the average dorm experience.

“I think it creates a fascinating community to be in and provides for many opportunities in leadership and personal development,” Kaplan said. “The community is also very active with something almost always going on.”

Zimple will follow the residential colleges and require residents to fill out an application to live within the community. The application process may undergo changes within the next few years. Bryan said the residential college system is not for every student, but there are still a great deal of students who want to live within these facilities.

“It certainly offers a lot of variety to our students,” Bryan said. “If you don’t want to be a part of the residential college system, you certainly don’t have to be. I think that Tulane is going in this direction.”

Tulane will have about 4,100 beds on campus once Zimple opens to students. About a quarter of the beds at Tulane will be in a residential college or livinglearning community. Bryan said a main goal of housing is to create more space so more juniors and seniors can stay on campus.

“I think we should make opportunities for our upperclassmen,” Bryan said. “We will have to build more beds for the future because [housing] doesn’t capture all the juniors and seniors. We are going to try to do things differently to invite those juniors and seniors to stay with us because I think it makes good sense.”

Klein said housing looks at the way students interact within the residential halls. In the future housing hopes to focus more on the aspect of academics.

“Change is often slow and uneven,” Klein said. “While we might want to do one thing right away we can’t, and there is a lot that goes into those changes. I know the university is dedicated to providing an organic, holistic experience that combines the in-and out-of-class experience and that is something that makes stronger and more successful students.”