Liam Killeen ‘15
The townhouses were originally built on campus years ago as temporary housing for students while other residence halls were being built to house them. As the years went by and the enrollment increased, the townhouses became necessary to permanently house residences of the college.
Now in the year 2014, the townhouses have definitely seen better days, but with the care of the physical plant the townhouses are kept up to date, clean, and ready to be the home of new groups of students each year.
At the Mack Meeting last week, President Christopher Hopey discussed a housing program called “Affinity Housing,” a system put in place in which students are able to request certain locations to live and rank their favorite places from first to last.
Donna Swartwout, dean of campus life, spoke highly of this system. The way the process works is simple, before housing process takes place online, students are able to send in an application regarding who they would like to live with, why they would like to live with them, and facts about what they have in common.
Typically students that apply for this are involved with a sports team, club sport, fraternity, or sorority. Individuals are encouraged to take their group and apply to live in the townhouses, doing so they are then able to create a meetinghouse for their group. Fraternities and sororities have been granted permission to station their groups letters on the outside of their townhouse, and let the student body know who resides there.
All students must have their housing deposits in prior to the process for it to take place. Director of Residence Life Sara Hicks and Dean Donna Swartwout do their best at placing students in their requested buildings. Merrimack wants their students to feel welcome and comfortable with the environment in which they are placed.
If there is a group that has more members in it than space in the townhouse, Residence Life will go out of their way to try to place students in townhouses that are close together so members can still be together as they had wished.
Hopey said frats and sororities would be ideal to put in the townhouses because there are common rooms where they can have group meetings regarding their particular frat or sorority. This entire process takes place before the regular room selection process so it is encouraged that students organize their group members sooner rather than later. Late February and early March are when the deposits are due.
“The dates are proposed but not yet solidified,” Hicks explained. “In the end, it’s about the friend group, not about the location.”