The dorms housing Loyola sophomores are a hodgepodge of students of different years, but that’s about to change as the school plans to start grouping second-year students together in campus housing, university officials said. Residence Life is also making changes to the university’s meal plan requirements.
Loyola requires first and second-year students to live in on-campus residence halls. First-years live together in designated buildings such as de Nobili Hall and Simpson Living-Learning Center while all other students live together in mixed housing.
But starting in fall 2020, sophomores will be housed in “cohorts” similarly to first-year students, according to Clair McDonald, Residence Life’s assistant director for assignments, marketing and communication. McDonald works with student housing allocation procedures — including housing forms, housing contracts and choosing rooms — as well as housing and meal plan exemption forms.
Along with housing changes, juniors and seniors will also no longer be required to purchase meal plans if they are living in apartments with full kitchens, according to an email sent by Residence Life in November.
The university decided to change Loyola’s housing model because, according to McDonald, Loyola has many first-year programs for students to acclimate to campus, but sophomores don’t have different programs from juniors and seniors. While juniors and seniors are focused more on finding jobs and internships, sophomores still want to connect or reconnect with campus resources, McDonald explained.
Second-year students living on campus might be more connected to their university than students living off campus, according to research by the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) and the Association of College and University Housing Officers – International (ACUHO-I). One study by ACUHO-I found sophomores living on campus interacted with faculty more often than off-campus peers.
Another study by the NSSE found out of 13,420 sophomore students — 51 percent living on campus, 28 percent living off campus and 21 percent living with their parents — only 1 percent of students living off campus met with an academic advisor, compared to 7 percent of students living on-campus.
Nadira Shabbir, a 19-year-old sophomore majoring in neuroscience, said she thinks having apartment-style dorm rooms with kitchens generally results in students being on campus less. But she said “as long as [students] live on campus, they’re probably going to interact on campus.”
Erin Koch, a 22-year-old senior, said she thinks the housing program changes will have a positive impact on students, especially on transfer students.
“I was an orientation leader so when I had transfer students that were coming in as sophomores and they were worried about getting involved in stuff because they thought they had missed their chance,” the nursing major said.
Sophomores buildings will include Fairfield, Fordham, Francis Hall and Regis, among others. Junior and senior buildings will include Bellarmine, Canisius, Georgetown and Marquette.
Baumhart Hall, located on Loyola’s Water Tower Campus, will still house students of different years but specific floors will likely be blocked off for sophomores depending on the building’s student demographic, McDonald said.