On-campus living community focused

The alarm clock rings.

James McCombs opens his eyes and looks at the clock. It shows 7:55, just five minutes before his first class starts.

McCombs, a resident assistant for Wright Hall, rolls out of bed and still makes it to class on time. This convenience is one of his favorite things about living on campus.

About 55 percent of undergraduate students live in on campus housing, which is composed of thirteen operational residence halls, the Greek houses and the GrandMarc, said Craig Allen, director of residential services.

TCU offers a variety of on-campus living options, each of which has its own personality, said Chris Sewalish, Milton Daniel hall director.

“Each hall has a different experience,” he said. “It’s all about fit and what kind of community we can offer that will be most comfortable or provide the most benefit.”

Sewalish said students who live on campus are not just signing a lease agreement. Instead, they are signing up to be part of a community, he said.

Many students consider the community the best thing about living on campus.

“You’re always part of a small community within your hall and the bigger community on campus,” said Lindsay Twichell, assistant hall director for King and Wright residence halls.

RAs build community by providing programming for their individual wings, as well as sponsoring two or three all-hall programs per semester, said Jeremy Arnold, an RA in Brachman and Wiggins residence halls.

Living Learning Communities, wings in which upperclassmen who share common interests or values can live together, have specific programming that focuses on the common interest, McCombs said.

Sewalish said every part of residence hall life focuses on building community.

“Community is being built intentionally,” Sewalish said. “We work hard to make sure we have a strong community.”

Administrators say the on-campus community provides students with resources they need to succeed in college.

“They have access to all the staff and resources,” said Bridgit Breslow, Foster Hall director. “When you’re off campus, there are not that many people who care within a two-minute walk.”

Allen said living on campus also provides students with a safety net.

“It’s independent living and yet it has enough structure to it that students know that if they need help, there’s help usually close by,” Allen said.

Despite the effort hall staff members make to give residents the best experience possible, on-campus residents still face some problems.

Luke Morrill, Waits hall director, said he noticed students have certain problems across the board.

“Whenever you get hundreds of 18- to 21-year-olds together, you’re going to have noise problems,” Morrill said. “Across the board, you’ll find noise, roommate conflicts and alcohol violations.”

However, Sewalish said the hall staff strives to empower students to deal with those problems.

He said another advantage of living on campus is that the facilities are superb.

“All of the facilities could stand up to any apartment complex or house you put up in there,” Sewalish said. “Additionally, its great to have facilities that are cleaned and maintained every day of the week.”

Twichell said she agreed that the facilities and convenience of living on campus were unbeatable.

“Everything is at your fingertips,” Twichell said. “Everything you might want that you’d have to pay extra for off campus is here.”

Allen said most halls provide similar facilities, and the difference in prices comes primarily from the hall’s age and most recent renovation.

The on-campus prices range from $2,550 for Colby, Milton Daniel and Moncrief non-suite double rooms to $3,600 for Tom Brown-Pete Wright apartments super-single rooms.

On-campus students are also required to buy a Frog Pass meal plan, which ranges from $1,799 to $2,099 for traditional and suite-style hall residents. Tom Brown-Pete Wright apartment residents can buy the regular Frog Pass or a Frog Pass Limited, which costs $625 or $950 per semester.

Breslow said she thinks the new meal plan will help students make friends and develop confidence because instead of always taking food to go, they will sit and enjoy the company of others during mealtimes.

Libby Woolverton, an RA in Moncrief Hall, said she has loved her on-campus experience.

“There’s too many pros to living on campus to even think about living off-campus,” she said.