OPINION | New residence halls present housing complications, potential benefits

Casey Wade, Contributing Columnist

(Will Embree)

During early March, Tulane University freshmen received a time slot that determines their housing fate for the upcoming year. This year, students’ time slots were spread evenly across March 22, 23 and 25.

Students create roommate groups within the housing portal, and whoever has the earliest time slot is responsible for securing housing for the entire group. Every year, students scramble for the eight upperclassmen residence halls: Phelps, Irby, Mayer, Weatherhead, Warren, Aron, Greenbaum, Paterson and Décou-Labat.

Many students often wish to be in either Aron, Phelps or Irby. Aron offers the prospect of single rooms, a kitchen and a common living space. Phelps and Irby are popular due to their central location and social layout of eight people to one suite.

This year, however, students who choose to live in Phelps, Irby or Paterson residence halls will have to move out during some point in the academic year to move into the new residence halls being constructed in between Phelps and Irby: River Hall and Lake Hall. 

Further complicating the room selection process, students must decide how this change impacts their individual living plans. 

Tulane has not yet indicated when this move will occur during the 2022-2023 academic school year. The Housing and Residential Life website states students will be randomly assigned to rooms in the new residence halls, and they will attempt to keep roommate groups together. 

Phelps and Irby’s layout consists of eight-person suites that are joined together by one bathroom. River and Lake Halls will not have eight person suites, so this change in layout presents another issue in maintaining established roommate groups. The halls will primarily consist of suite-style rooms where two rooms are connected with a bathroom.

The transition to River and Lake Halls adds another twist to the already stressful housing process. It may typically be nerve-racking to find people to live with and to agree on where to live. Living situations are further complicated if a group does not secure their first housing option and must split up to obtain another residence hall. 

Next year, students who plan to live in Phelps, Irby or Paterson will settle in upperclassman housing for a semester, only to be upended at some unknown time. 

Students must decide whether the transition to the new residence halls is a negative or a positive change. Do the risks outweigh the reward? Students may enjoy the social life aspects of Phelps and Irby, albeit temporarily, and then they get to marvel at the newness of River and Lake. 

On the other hand, students must take a chance that they may no longer get to live with their chosen roommate group and students will have to entirely move out of their dorm at an unspecified date. 

Freshman Lucy Friedman believes the reward far outweighs the risk. “My roommate group did consider looking at other options like Aron and Mayer because we were not sure if we wanted to move all of our stuff out in the middle of the year,” Friedman said. “After talking about it more, we decided we wanted to live in Phelps or Irby because we did not want to split up our group of eight people. I also think it will be nice to get to be the first students living in River or Lake Hall.” 

Most students who were interested in Phelps or Irby seemed to feel similarly, and both Phelps and Irby filled up on the first day of housing time slots similar to years prior. 

The construction of River and Lake Halls provides an exciting opportunity for students. Many current freshmen are more than willing to deal with the switch to a new dorm during the academic school year in order to be the first to live in brand new residence Halls. 

River and Lake may be advantageous due to their central location on campus. Most of the newer residence halls, like Greenbaum Residence Hall or Décou-Labat Residences are on the outskirts of campus. 

River and Lake Halls provide an exciting opportunity for students to enjoy the coveted social dorms of Phelps and Irby as well as the new modern residences once construction has finished. Regardless of the dorm that students end up in, living on campus sophomore year is a quintessential and enjoyable Tulane experience. 

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