For the first time in over twenty years, first year students are living in Tuve Hall.
Tuve Hall, one of the campus’s oldest dormitories, has traditionally housed only upperclassmen, but the 481 incoming freshmen are straining tradition.
“We knew, probably in April, that we were heading toward a larger class than we thought we were gonna have this year,” said Corey Kopp, director of Campus Life.
The south side dormitories, Bergsaker and Solberg, that normally house the first-year students were not large enough to accommodate the 2017 class.
Campus Life deliberated creating triple rooms in Bergsaker or Solberg, modifying the dayrooms in Bergsaker and Solberg into dorm rooms, creating a freshman floor in Granskou or Stavig or establishing a freshman floor in Tuve.
Of all the options, Tuve was the most flexibile, Kopp said.
“There was no other place on campus where we could add another bed in every room, have the space we needed and create space from nothing,” Kopp said.
Housing freshmen in Tuve also allowed for light renovations in Tuve, Kopp said. Campus Life was able remove the old built-in furniture and add a new layer of paint, carpets, modular furniture and closets with adjustable racks.
Tuve, Kopp said, was also the better option because, like Bergsaker and Solberg, it has no air-conditioning or elevators.
“We thought about taking a floor in the towers, but we didn’t feel good about that because it would be so different than the first-year living experience,” Kopp said. “It didn’t feel like there was great equality going on there.”
Tuve offers a similar experience to the south side freshman dorms even if it is on the other side of campus, Kopp said.
“There definitely is some isolation because we are so far away. I don’t know if that is necessarily bad or good,” said freshman and Tuve resident Jenna Bartunek. “It depends on how much you stay in your dorm and how much you go out.”
The distance between the freshmen living in Tuve and the freshmen in the south side dorms does not make a difference to freshman and Bergsaker resident Dylan Schuck. “Half the time you don’t know who is in which class anyway,” he said. “Being spread out probably helps actually because you can meet new people.”
In addition to moving first-year students onto the first floor of Tuve, Campus Life decided that the floor should have a theme: Endeavor.
“If we created a living community—a themed community—we might be able to bridge some of the gap and create some intentional connections between first-year students who are living apart from the other first-year students,” Kopp said.
The Endeavor program will focus on “vocational exploration, faith and service,” said Kopp. Every Tuesday, dubbed “Tuvesday” in the Endeavor program, the freshman floor will host events like meet-and-greets, ice cream socials and trips off-campus.
The Endeavor program has brought “a great group of people together,” said Bartunek. “It feels like everyone is supposed to be there.”
Sophomore Tuve resident Aggie Salzwedel said having freshmen in her dorm does not bother her. “They seem like cool kids,” she said.
“I think any time we make a major change in the way we house everybody is a little nervous to see how it goes,” Kopp said.
“We’re excited about what we’ve created, and we think it’s the door to additional options with its flexibility. I’d love to see us do more themed housing within residence halls, to try and speak to student passions and create more experiences. That said, we’ll always have the traditional housing that we have.”