New freshman residency policy
East Carolina University will require freshmen to live on campus their first two semesters under a new retention policy that begins in August.
The policy is aimed at keeping students on the right track to return the following year.
“A lot of the research…states that students who live on campus, particularly their freshman year, do better academically,” said Dr. Virginia Hardy, vice chancellor for Student Affairs.
Hardy said Chancellor Steve Ballard’s Executive Council made the policy decision, with the Board of Trustees highly favoring the change.
Bill McCartney, associate vice chancellor for Campus Living and Dining, said the requirement will provide a universal first-year experience for incoming freshmen.
It will allow students to be closer to the services the university provides and to bond with the university in a different way than they would if living off-campus.
Hardy said the greatest benefit of this change is increased programming geared specifically towards freshmen to help with the transition from high school to college.
“Those (programs) will cover developmental topics from how do you make friends, how do you deal with roommate issues, to time management, study skills and test taking skills,” she said.
“It helps with acclimation, from understanding how to study, how to perform, how to manage time a little bit, because there’s some structure within the residence hall.”
Incoming freshman Anna McDonald of Durham said although she would have preferred having the option to live off-campus, she is looking forward to living in the residence halls and making life-long friends.
“I think it’s a good idea for the first year just to get adjusted to college life on campus,” said McDonald.
Since about 85 percent of freshmen usually plan to live on campus, Campus Living does not expect a drastic increase in the number of residents.
McCartney said there will be enough space to accommodate the extra percentage of freshmen, as well as any returning students who choose to live in the residence halls.
A few exceptions to the policy will be honored. Freshmen who live with their parents and commute less than 35 miles to campus may choose to live at home. Veterans, married students and students who are 21-years-old by the first day of classes may choose to live off-campus.
McCartney said he expects the exceptions to affect only about 125 to 150 students.
ECU joins other universities that also require students to live on campus their first year, including UNC-Chapel Hill, Texas Tech and Duke University, which requires to students to live on campus the first three years.
“Students make friends for life during their freshmen year at college,” said McCartney.
“The people students live around and go through that rite of passage with as freshmen form a special bond…those students who live on campus have a much easier access to creating that bond and that common experience than off-campus students.
“Students who have that common experience will feel that much more connected to the institution,” McCartney said.
Parents and students stay in dorms during orientation
By Crystal Baity
ECU News Services
Linda Herndon jumped at the chance to stay overnight in an East Carolina University dorm during her son’s orientation.
This is the first year that ECU offered parents that option during new student orientations being held in two-day sessions through mid-July.
Herndon graduated from Atlantic Christian College but lived off campus while taking classes.
“I wanted to get the entire experience, plus the convenience of it with all the activities going on,” said Herndon, of Wilson. “I’m really glad I stayed on campus.”
During a break June 18, Herndon carried her overnight bag to the second floor of Jarvis Residence Hall. The room was comfortable and centrally located to all sessions. Her son, Robert Cunningham, stayed in Fletcher, where he will be living this fall. “It’s the dorm he ultimately will be in,” she said. “He got a feel for what to expect next year.”
Some parents like Bardeen Forman of Charlotte had arrived a day early because of the distance from their home. She toured campus for the first time with her daughter, 18-year-old Duvall Forman, an intended elementary education major, who stayed in Fletcher.
“I’m glad they offered the service,” Bardeen Forman said. “It was economical and close to everything.”
Duvall Forman visited several schools but instantly connected at ECU. “It just seemed perfect,” she said.
She knew of the College of Education’s rich history at ECU and eventually hopes to pair her interest in art with teaching. She’s working this summer at the Harris YMCA in Charlotte and is looking forward to starting classes in August.
“I’d come tomorrow,” she said. “I’m excited to take that step.”
She hoped to learn more during orientation so she would be less nervous about her first day.“I’m hoping they can ease me into it,” she said.
“They’ll talk with us about everything we have questions about so that’s a good feeling.”
Louis Cameron, an orientation assistant from Elizabeth City, said he and other assistants are there to help students adjust.
“They’re always worried, but the students get used to it very quick,” said Cameron, who was voted most valuable orientation assistant at an earlier session.
Tammy Hunt of Mooresville accompanied her daughter, Kaitlyn, 17, who plans to major in nursing. Hunt, whose 19-year-old son attends UNC-Greensboro, didn’t sleep well in Jarvis the first night.
“But it served its purpose. It’s more affordable than staying in a hotel,” she said.
Kaitlyn Hunt will be living in Fletcher this fall in the first year experience program, one of several living-learning communities and theme housing available at ECU.
“I’m hoping to meet a lot of people,” she said. “I want to get to know campus.”
During the formal welcome in Wright Auditorium, ECU Provost Marilyn Sheerer encouraged parents to give their sons or daughters freedom to make their own decisions and become more independent in college.
“I’ve heard bizarre stories of parents still calling a student every morning to get them out of bed to go to class,” she said. “So students, buy an alarm clock and practice this summer if you’re still relying on parents to get you up.”
She advised students to put academics first even though there are many activities and ways to get involved on campus. “You’ve got to focus on doing very well your very first semester,” Sheerer said.
She also asked students to get out of their comfort zone and meet people different than themselves. Future employers are looking for team players, she said.
Although rising freshman Robert Cunningham has been on campus many times with friends and family, being a student at ECU will be a huge change from his private high school, Greenfield School in Wilson, where he was one of 15 graduates.
“It’s going to be way different,” said Cunningham, 17, an intended engineering major. “But we don’t want to wait two months. We’re ready to come now.”