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Residential Council Minutes :: October 7, 2008

Present: James Reed (Chair), Greg Anderson (Policy Chair), Mark Fuller (Program House Chair), Ben Lowell (Lottery Chair), Jillian Robbins (Secretary), Sophie Asher, Al Carter, Jerry Cedrone, EJ Chung, Paige Hicks, Mannan Jalan, Chaz Kelsh, Adam Lewin, Mike Sokolovsky, Christine Sunu, Jane Zhang

Guests: Dean Tom Forsberg, Natalie Basil (Associate Director of Residential Life), Sarah Linz (Community Director, Main Campus and Keeney Quad), Michelle Thrasher (Community Director, Pembrooke Campus and East Campus)

  • Guests came to discuss changes made in the RPL program this year based on the input of the Committee on the Residential Experience and opinions from ResCouncil

Changes made to this years RPL program:

  1. Staffing structure - an increased number of RPLs and 2 new CDs who are employees of Brown
  2. Faculty advising fellow program (we will discuss this at a later date)

Changes made in staffing structure:

  • The Committee on the Residential Experience discovered that most students get information from their peers - RPLS
    • therefore, it is necessary to ensure that RPLs have the correct information to pass on to the students living in their units
    • last year, the ratio of RPLs to freshmen was 1:29
    • this year, we have additional RPL support - the number of RPLS on Pembrooke was increased so that now the ratio of RPLs to students is 1:25 (this number does not account  for MPCs - including MPCs, the ratio of counselors to students decreases to approximately 1:19)
    • RPLs were added in Andrews, Emery, Woolley, and Champlin
    • Committee on the Residential Experience thought it important to keep 22 housing units (like last year) and not add units
      • thought it more important to add RPLs to existing units to make the ratio of RPL to student decrease
  • The Committee on the Residential Experience then looked at where sophomores generally live on campus
    • as freshman, students at Brown have a lot of support within the dorms
    • The Committee wanted to provide additional support to sophomores within the dorms to help them more easily transition from living in a unit structure to living in a more general housing structure
    • additional CAs were placed where sophomores live
    • the CA to student ratio decreased from 1:80 last year to 1:50 this year
    • one additional CA was placed in each Grad Center tower, in each Wriston building, and in New Pembrooke #1 (now there are 2 CAs in each of these dorms)
    • the number of CAs in typical junior and senior housing decreased
      • now, there is 1 CA in Young Orchard (instead of 2) and 1 CA in Hegeman (instead of 2)
  • this new system provides a tiered progression of student support
  • Last year, 9 graduate students were hired to advise RPLs
    • this year, the Committee restructured the program, hiring 2 full time masters level Community Directors to oversee the RPLs
    • there are 4 graduate students who also help to advise the RPLs (the graduate students live in Hope, Olney, Perkins, and Morriss)
  • in previous years, the RPLs enjoyed working with the graduate students, and this provided a great mentorship program, but accessibility to graduate students and depth of support was not ideal as graduate students were full time students
  • the hiring of 2 full time staff members increased the support RPLs have, providing increased accessibility and depth of support
  • the 2 CDs live on campus (in apartments in Everett and Emery) where graduate students had formerly lived
  • the decreased number of graduate students advising in the RPL program allowed a few additional rooms to be available in the housing lottery
  • so far, responses from RPLs concerning the new structure of the program have been positive
    • ResLife will be looking for more feedback from ResCouncil and the student body in the near future
  • ResLife would love to see an additional CD
    • a third CD would make more geographic sense (1 CD for Main Campus and Keeney, 1 CD for Pembrooke Campus, and 1 CD for East Campus) and would allow for each CD to give more individual attention to each of the RPLs and develop stronger connections with them
    • it would also permit greater bonding between RPLs

Lottery Calendar:

  • Lottery Committee has considered a potential series of dates for the 2009 housing lottery
  • Lottery cannot conflict with Passover
  • Dates need to be approved by Greek and Program houses to ensure that they have enough time for recruitment and rush
  • Potential dates for Super Deadline Day: March 2 (Mon) or March 3 (Tues)
    • this would give Greek Houses 6 weekends to recruit (5.5 weeks) - is this enough time?
    • typically, Super Deadline Day is a Tuesday
  • When should lottery applications be due? When will lottery numbers be announced?
  • Potential plan is to have lottery applications due before we leave for spring break
    • last year, lottery applications were due when we returned from spring break
    • would changing the due date be confusing?
  • ideally, we will hand in lottery applications on the Wednesday before spring break
  • Potential lottery dates: April 6th and 7th (Passover begins April 8th at night)
    • do we want lottery to be on a Monday and a Tuesday
    • should there be a day off between lottery days
    • if we want lottery to be on a Monday and a Wednesday, we should consider Aptril 13th and 15th
      • will this conflict with ADOCH?
  • we also want to give people as much time as possible between the announcement of lottery numbers and lottery so that appropriate research into housing options can be conducted

Off Campus Housing Proposal:

  • It is important to create a system where seniors can apply for permission and will almost definitely receive it (except in severe circumstances - for example, in instances of academic probation)
  • Juniors will now apply for off campus housing in groups and will receive permission in groups
    • this will allow juniors to be more sure if they can live off campus because their whole group will or will not receive housing
  • This procedure should shorten the off campus housing permission process because now, if you are granted off campus housing, you will have to accept it
    • after receiving off campus permission, one will immediately be removed from the on campus housing lottery
  • There will be a process in place to re-apply for on campus housing, but it will be rigorous and discouraged
  • If a rising senior wants to live with juniors, he/she can apply with the group of juniors, but his/her permission is no longer guaranteed
    • this should prevent seniors from helping juniors acquire off-campus housing and then requesting individual permission
  • Junior lottery groups can have 1 - 12 members
  • Seniors will apply for off campus housing permission beginning November 1st
  • The application process for juniors will begin a week later
  • The off campus housing permission process should occur in its entirety in the fall semester
  • As part of our proposal, we will recommend that ResLife grant more off campus permission slots because each year there seems to be a shortage of on campus housing
  • Motion passes unanimously

End of Meeting

Submitted by Jillian Robbins, Residential Council Secretary 2008-2009