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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

How do rising seniors feel about the decrease in Northfield Option?

<rleton’s residential office, better known as Res Life, released the lottery numbers for the 2009-2010 academic year earlier last week along with the statement that only a hundred rising seniors would get the chance of getting Northfield Option.

Northfield Option is a chance for Carleton’s upperclassmen to live off campus in housing not owned by the college. It has always been in high demand with students because it provides an opportunity to save a lot of money along with the chance to live with increased independence. “By living off campus, a student can save almost six to eight thousand dollars every year,” says Brandon Walker, a senior who has been living off-campus this year. Students also prefer the Northfield Option because they feel more at home living in a house and cooking their own food.

But while living off campus does save money and provide independence, it comes at a cost. The life of most students at Carleton is significantly built around the floor they live on. Students living off-campus instead have to keep track of utility and grocry bills which takes a large chunk of time that students do not have. Though saving money is the main concern for many seniors who live off-campus, it is also a lack of independence in college housing which promotes them to do so. Many students feel that by the time they become seniors, they are too grown-up to live like dependents on campus.

Many of these problems, says Steve Wisener, the Director of Res Life, will be tackled by the new dormitories opening this coming fall term. The new dorms, Memorial and Cassat, will add a total of 230 new beds. Watson triples will go back to being doubles and students will not be living in Stadium, or Page and Watson houses next year. Memorial Hall will be an all-upperclassman dorm and will be given more independence. Memorial Hall will have suites, providing students with the chance to experience a new level of independence in college owned housing.

Rising seniors are especially disappointed with the reduction of Northfield Option from 250 to 100, because for many of them this means that they have to make the transition back to living on campus again after they have already adjusted to living off campus for a year. Many of them would still prefer living off-campus to living in the new dorms, not only for the money it saves, but also because a lot of students do not like living in dormitories. Students are concerned about the timely completion of the new dorms by next fall and many more are anxious about what effect this will have on the campus life when more than 150 students who were not eating and living on campus start doing so. “How will we all fit?” asks Beth Seraydarian, a rising senior.

The Dining halls seem to be already overloaded with large lines of students at peak times and a shortage of silverware and glasses.

In addition, rising seniors who already live off-campus feel that they are being overlooked. “I think it is really important that consideration is put into the juniors who are currently living off campus and who intended to do so again next year but may not be able to given their draw numbers,” says Nellie Gilles. These students have already invested their time and money into furnishing and making a house their home. They did so under the impression that they would be able to make use of these supplies for more than one year.

While many rising seniors are very upset about the reduction of Northfield Option, most feel that the college is doing the best it can. The college has spent a large amount of money into building the new dormitories and they need to house people. “The college has to stay afloat, and especially considering the current economic crisis and the loss of Carleton’s endowment, this decision makes sense,” says Walker. Wisener also states that, “Carleton is a residential campus, and the college makes it clear from the beginning that the students are supposed to live on campus as a community.”

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