With more than 600 incoming students and a dorm out of commission for renovations, Augustana faced a housing issue at the end of last school year.
Jenna Bump, director of housing operations, was tasked with finding a place to house first-year and returning students.
“At first when I learned all of this, it was a little nerve-wracking,” Bump said. “A lot of different scenarios flew through my mind, and I didn’t like any of them.”
She thought about revamping the residency requirements or only prioritizing first and second year students, but decided against it
“I wanted to provide housing to those who want it and need it,” Bump said. “I believe in our residency requirement because we’re such a communal campus, and living on campus is part of that experience.”
After she saw the exact numbers, she calculated that the freshmen could fit in Solberg, Tuve, and the first four floors of Stavig.
“I was just really nervous,” Bump said, “but when I got down to the numbers and looked at how many students we already had on campus, how many students were joining campus, I kind of breathed a little sigh of relief.”
Traditionally, Stavig and Granskou housed upperclassmen residences only. Rarely did the campus intermingle returning students and freshmen aside from Tuve, but senior Viking Advisor (VA) Jayci Holsing said the decision worked out well.
“I think it’s good to have sort of an isolated freshman community where all the freshmen can get together and really get to know each other better,” Holsing said. “But there’s also the good that they can get to know upperclassmen, so if they have any questions they can cultivate relationships with them and not just rely on their VA.”
Holsing is a VA for about 30 girls on the second floor of Stavig.
“We haven’t really had any issues,” Holsing said. “I’ve heard that it’s just been kind of chill — pretty normal.”
Sophomore roommates Hunter Hauck and Sam Fawcett agree. The two said they don’t really think about the freshmen living in the same building.
“I haven’t been able to tell a difference between who’s a freshman and who’s not, other than that I know they’re on floors four and down,” Hauck said.
Bump said the decision to keep the freshmen on their own floor helps with the transition and adds to the first-year experience. She wanted to make sure that the freshmen were still close enough that they could have their own community.
“I think it also helps that Tuve is a first-year building,” Bump said. “The north side has kind of become half first-year students anyway.”
The decision to house freshmen in the towers again will be based upon class size and available housing. As years progress, Bump said housing will change to fit new needs. Next year, Bergsaker will be renovated and back open for housing. Additionally, the new south residence hall will be complete as well.
Bump is still working with admissions and financial aid to decide what groups of students will be eligible to live in the new building.
“It’s kind of exciting to dream and plan and mix things up a little bit,” Bump said. “I know Augie wants to grow and do exciting things.”