Campus Housing Supports Academics and Student-Faculty Interactions

Posted: December 9, 1999 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Emily Yaghmour

Working with the Freshman Center, the staff in the Office of Housing and Residence Life has transformed the second floor of Roosevelt Hall into a “living and learning floor” on which students from two sections of the University 100 course live. The classes are even held in student housing. “We’ve found that the community they’ve established among themselves has been very positive and supportive,” says Anthony Arcieri, coordinator of academic initiatives. “They’ve even established their own study groups.”

The Housing office also reserved the second floor of Jackson Hall to house students from a group of three linked courses–English composition, history, and science. Next semester, the Housing staff plans to set aside more rooms to house students from particular classes.

In addition to supporting academics, the Housing office has created the “Cocurricular Faculty” program to promote greater faculty-student interaction. Early this semester, Arcieri and Pam Patterson, associate director of housing, selected three faculty members, Rick Davis of the Institute of the Arts, Donna Fox of Biology, and Tom Rustici of Economics, to participate in the program, which consists of a series of informal gatherings between students and faculty. In addition to joining students for casual dinners, movie nights, and study sessions, these faculty members participate in “fireside chats” with students. “Getting to know our freshmen students on a more personal level has been a highlight of my semester,” says Fox.

Campus housing at George Mason is managed by Century Campus Housing Management. Unlike some campus housing contractors, which manage residence halls as if they were hotels, Century Campus Housing believes in the importance of creating programs that help students grow socially and academically.

“I think everyone’s goal is to keep students in school,” says Patterson. “I think the efforts we are making in this area are helping people find another place where they can feel connected. And if they feel more connected, they’re going to be more likely to stay in school and continue living in the residence halls.”

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