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Saint Mary’s changes options for on-campus living

Bridget Feeney | Tuesday, February 21, 2012

When campus opens for the fall semester, Saint Mary’s will welcome back returning students, members of the Class of 2016 and possibly some four-legged guests.

Next year, Regina South will be open exclusively to seniors and, if approved, their pets as well. The newest senior housing option, announced by the Department of Residence Life and Community Standards last month, is an example of how the College is working to retain students on campus for all four years.

Janielle Tchakerian, assistant vice president for Student Affairs and director of Residence Life and Community Standards, said 72 percent of the graduating senior class signed housing agreements to live on campus next year.

“For some students it is cheaper to live on campus than off because of financial aid reasons,” she said. “Others choose to live on campus because of the conveniences and the new senior living option in Regina South.”

Tchakerian said in addition to the growing list of senior-only living options, the College is also retaining so many seniors due to changes in the housing selection process.

“[Some students chose to live on campus] because we had senior room selection in February which allowed [the seniors] to know sooner if they got into a particular hall, floor, etc. instead of waiting until April,” she said.

In addition to private access to kitchens, a new visitation policy, upgraded computer labs and flexibility when selecting a meal plan, Tchakerian said Regina South residents have the opportunity to bring a small pet to join them in the room, which has drawn a positive response.

“I do not know any exact number [of how many pets will live in Regina South],” Tchakerian said. “However, there are 21 students who have indicated a strong interest and want the pet registration information,”

Tchakerian said she is excited for the opportunity to collaborate with students to further improve the senior housing options.

“I am looking forward to working with a group of women to help further enhance the senior living experience,” she said. “We have the framework in place but are allowing the students to help further define their experience.”

Regina South is not the only exclusive housing option available to seniors next year. Annunciata Hall and Opus Hall are also living accommodations designated for seniors.

Annunciata, located on the top floor of Holy Cross Hall, features a private kitchen and common room for residents.

Junior Alyssa Baz said she is thrilled she secured a room in Annunciata for her final year of college.

“My stepmom was one of the founding residents of Annunciata when she was a senior, so I knew that I wanted to live there to keep the tradition alive,” she said. “I wouldn’t want to live in any other building during my last year at Saint Mary’s.”

Opus is filled to capacity for the 2012-2013 academic year. Each apartment features a furnished living room, a full kitchen and private bedrooms. Junior Hilary Whitsett will live in an Opus quad next year. She said she has been hoping to spend her final year in Opus since she was a freshman.

“The apartments are really nice and it will be great to have my own room,” she said. “I am looking forward to moving out of the dorms and having a real type of apartment and not living in one big room with a bunch of people. It will feel like a real living space.”