In the next five years, several of the most basic facets of residential life, from how dormitory common rooms are lit to how students open their own rooms, will completely change. Some already have.
On Nov. 5, the Office of Residential Life released its master plan to the campus on its Web site. The plan is set to guide the office’s policies until 2012. Darese Doskal-Scaffido, associate director of residential life and judicial affairs, said the plan was first discussed a year and a half ago, when the Office of Residential Life concluded that the goals outlined in its first master plan, made in 2002, had been accomplished. The department held meetings to form a new course and gathered student input through surveys about the quality of life and bimonthly meetings with resident assistants.
The new plan features a section on sustainability, an issue that was not addressed in the previous plan, and includes implementing changes such as shower timers to challenge students to take shorter showers and motion-sensing lights that turn off when the room is empty.
Andrew Kosinuk, residence director for the West Tower, said that it was good that the master plan addressed the trend of sustainability.
“The goal for Ithaca is not just to be in step with everyone else,” he said. “[It is] to be a leader in sustainability, and the fact that our campus emphasizes that so very much reflects that.”
For its focus on sustainability, the master plan received a Green Thumbs Up from Marian Brown, special assistant to the provost, an award by the Sustainability Initiative to recognize individuals or groups who make sustainable decisions.
Another of the master plan’s
objectives is to research adding wireless Internet access to residence halls. Zach Newswanger, assistant director of residential life, said the Office of Residential Life has planned to work with Information Technology Services to determine the cost of such a plan and how wireless Internet access would be secured.
Bonnie Prunty, director of residential life, said the master plan includes a plan to implement identification access locks on residence hall doors, in addition to the doors being locked 24 hours a day. A pilot implementation program would take place in Fall 2008, with full implementation by January 2009.
The plan also addressed the college’s learning communities program and intended to ensure that the “learning outcomes” for students living in them were met. Patricia Sinclair, residence director for Terraces 5 through 8, said it was about fulfilling student needs.
“Learning communities are fairly new to Ithaca College, and since they’ve been implemented these learning outcomes have been part of that process,” Sinclare said. “It helps us evaluate that process to see whether students get what they want out of these communities, and if not, how [we can] improve them.”
The plan requires incoming students to complete a “Roommate 101” module before arriving on campus to help them prepare for living with a roommate. Sinclair said the module will educate students in residential life to be more community-oriented and think about how their actions affect the community. She said she hopes the outcome will be a more enjoyable experience.
“Feeling as though the money that they’re putting into the college goes toward something that affects them in a positive way is ultimately what we strive for,” Sinclair said.
If the master plan’s goals are not met, they are moved on to be addressed in the next one. Doskal-Scaffido, who oversaw the process of making the master plan, said it is not “etched in stone,” and its goals may change or be achieved through other means.
“The fact that we don’t X off every single thing isn’t seen as a failure but is seen as kind of adapting to what’s happening on campus,” she said.