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Commons’ Freshman Pilot Program cancelled after first year

Main Street Commons will be home solely to upperclassmen starting next semester.

Last fall, Bradley put together a pilot program offering apartment- style housing as an option for incoming freshmen. Alan Galsky, Vice President for Student Affairs, said the program’s goal was to mimic an on-campus residential experience. After a trial semester, the university decided freshmen will no longer be allowed to live in Main Street beginning next fall.

Galsky said a reason for cancel- ling the program was because it did not benefit enrollment.

“Those at enrollment manage- ment found that it would not be an advantage for enrollment by continuing the program,” he said.

Nathan Thomas, Executive Director of Residential Living and Leadership, said it was a presidential cabinet decision.

“The belief is that [continuing the program] isn’t an enrollment strategy,” he said. “There is still value to living in resident halls.”

Tricia Anklan, Resident Advisor for the program’s freshman floor, said she agreed there is still value in living in residential halls and believes students in Main Street Commons do not share the same experience.

“It was difficult to replicate the sense of community that exists on freshmen floors in the residence halls,” she said. “Because residents all have their own bedroom, bathroom and kitchen, there are fewer opportunities for residents to interact.”

Freshman mechanical engineering major Matt Heinrich agreed that living at Main Street presented disadvantages for the freshmen.

“Based on my location, I feel like I miss out on many social events,” Heinrich said. “I also have to get up earlier to get to classes. I’m seriously considering rooming in a dorm my sophomore year.”

Galsky said that Main Street’s negative aspects did not end the program, however. As for the future, he said it’s not determined if freshmen will ever live at Main Street again.

Despite the sense that Main Street lacked a community feel, many students enjoy the bonus apartment living has to offer Freshman mechanical engineering major Jacob Becker said he preferred living at Main Street, favoring the extra amenities that on-campus dorms cannot offer, including fitness equipment, a media room and tanning beds.

“I really love Main Street,” he said. “The added size is great, plus the fact that we get a full size kitchen and our own laundry facilities.”

Becker said he would endorse Main Street to incoming freshmen. “If I had to go back and make the decision over again, I would almost definitely choose Main Street,” he said. “I realize it’s more costly, but I feel the added features more than make up for the cost.” Despite the mixed reviews, Galsky said he was pleased with the pilot program.

“All students in the program returned to Main Street Commons after the first semes- ter,” he said. “[A Main Street freshmen] sur- vey said that midterm grades, involvement with activities on cam- pus and interaction with the RA were the same as students living in the resident halls. From an education perspective, it met our goals.”

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