An inside look into the Minerva first-year residence pilot program

Sorum House, one of the four that will be housing first-year students in the fall. Image courtesy of the Minerva Program.

Sorum House, one of the four that will be housing first-year students in the fall. Image courtesy of the Minerva Program.

Mallory Nelson, Contributing Writer

Starting this coming fall 16 first years will be moving into four of the seven on-campus Minervas. Green, Sorum, Wold and Messa will each receive four freshman in two doubles on the third floor of each Minerva building. The Minverva Office chose these rooms because they are not generally picked in the Minerva lottery and are usually filled during the general housing lottery. Dean of the Minerva Program Michelle Osborn and Associate Director of Minervas Laura Munkres stated that all upper class students who wanted to live in a Minerva next year do have a place for next year.

The new housing program was deemed necessary by the Office of Residential life because of other change that they will initiate next year. By switching Fox Hall to first year housing and changing Davidson and Webster to upper class living, there were not enough beds for first years.

The Minerva Office had previously thought about placing first years into the Minervas, however due to the housing changes, this process was sped up and the pilot program initiated. With this idea in place, the Minerva Office got to work on how this new idea would work. The freshman that are going to be living in the Minervas will have to fill out an application focused on finding students excited about the Minerva program and eager to join the Minerva Councils. In the application the first years accepted to the program are promised the ability to live in a double in a Minerva, $500 from the Minerva budget to create an event, “a position on your House Council” and a unique opportunity to shape the future of the Minerva Program at Union.

The application process involves four short essay questions which will be reviewed by the Minerva Central Office along with the students and faculty on the Minerva House Councils. These first years will be expected to attend a floor meeting with their assigned Resident Advisor (RA), located in either Fox, for Sorum and Green members and Webster for Wold and Messa, as well as to attend weekly House Council meetings and bi-weekly meetings with “Minerva First-Year Residence Pilot Program cohort.” The first years involved in this program must also plan one event during the 2019-2020 school year with the support of their Minerva council, other Pilot Program cohort members as well as the Minerva Office.

The application for the Minerva First-Year Residence Pilot Program cohort opened on Friday, May 10 and will remain open until the 24. Osborn and Munkres are working alongside Faculty Associate to the Minerva Program Suzie Bennack to create more support for the first years within the house, trying to create some sort of mentor program within the house. The Minerva Office is very open to feedback from House Councils, Minerva Residents and faculty advisors.

The Minerva Office is optimistic about the pilot program with Dean Osborn describing it as” a great opportunity to enhance the [Minerva] Community.” She also mentioned her hope that the program will help to build more bridges between class years within the Union campus community.