Residential Commons set to reform campus living

Campus living has been in the midst of an overhaul in preparation for the class of 2017. They will be the first to have guaranteed, required housing for the first two years.

Jennifer Post, associate director of residential life, said that beyond connecting students to campus more, the two-year housing obligation will “provide that sense of community” that many students find missing once they leave “dorm life” after their first year.

One of the biggest assets to the new plans for residential life is the live-on faculty aspect – this fall, four faculty members will already be in-residence; the rest will join in the fall of 2014.

Professor and Director of Music Therapy Robert Krout was one of the first faculty members to be announced as a live-on professor.

“Having students live on campus for their first two years allows us to involve students in the SMU experience on a much deeper and more meaningful level,” Krout said.

The live-on faculty will be integrated with their new students from move-in day forward, facilitating and joining in events such as the common reading discussions and first year convocation.

Krout said that one of the selected faculty members’ main objectives is to help students develop their own paths for success at SMU that really allow them to flourish as they complete their degrees.

“We will be building community on a floor-by-floor and student-by-student basis,” Krout said. “My goal is to help make the SMU experience as meaningful as possible for the many diverse students with whom I will have the privilege to interact.”

“We’re trying to create a mentorship for the student,” Post said. “Anytime you are able to connect faculty members and students more, it’s only going to create good.”

As part of the goal to [tear] down the barriers that exist between the faculty and students, a board of students was selected last year and new members will be added this fall to collaborate on creating the best opportunities for on-campus life.

“We got students involved from the very beginning,” Post explained. “They are first-leadership … this is going to be the core group helping to develop the identity [for the residential commons].”

Incoming members of the class of 2017 who are interested in applying for a position on the student leadership board for the inaugural residential life project should contact Krystal Jones at krystalj@smu.edu. 

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