Southern students wrestle for Village spots, deans see influx of applications for next school year


On Feb. 10, Southern Village deans sent out an eligibility list to all students who qualified for Village residency for the upcoming 2021-2022 school year. The email included information on how students could submit an application and what qualifications must be met for a group to be considered. 

This year, Village deans said they received a greater-than-usual number of Village applications.

“We usually might have to turn away maybe five to 10 groups — 10 is the most I’ve ever turned away,” Associate Dean JP Mathis said. “But this year, we had 19 that we turned away.”

In a poll conducted on the Accent’s Instagram account, out of 163 participants, 64% said their Village applications were accepted, while 36% said their applications were denied.

Sophomore nursing major Lexie Dornburg said although she was upset her group did not get accepted, she wasn’t surprised.

“I had heard how hard it was to get into Village your first year that you’re eligible,” Dornburg said. “… I found a group to apply with relatively quickly. We had the disadvantage of being on a lower level of priority due to class standing, but we knew that going in.”

According to Mathis, the reason why so many applications were denied was because the amount of academic credits required for Village residency has been lowered; therefore, more students are able to apply. As stated in the eligibility list, qualifying students fall under five brackets based on their age and academic credits acquired.

“It used to be that you had to have 75 credits to even be eligible,” Mathis said. “But last year, they took that down to 55, so that’s why it was harder to get in.” 

Junior nursing major Hannah Cheneweth, whose Village application was accepted, said she is excited to be out of the dorm for her upcoming senior year. She added that compared to other applicants, she may have had a slight advantage over other groups since a friend put her in touch with two current Village residents.

“If I didn’t know about that opportunity, I feel like it would have been slightly more difficult to find other housemates,” Cheneweth said. “I personally didn’t have any problems with the application process.”

 Additionally, Cheneweth feels that GPA should be held in the highest priority when accepting Village applicants. 

“I think of it as an incentive to do well in school and get good grades so that students can experience living semi off-campus,” Cheneweth said.

GPA is not taken into consideration when the deans decide which groups get into Village, according to Mathis. She said a student’s age, major disciplines and the amount of academic credits acquired are the main things the deans look for.

Community students are also eligible for Village, according to Mathis. Although they are not listed on the eligibility list that is sent out to non-local students, they can still apply if they reach out to the deans and meet the requirements. 

Senior history major Abby Hansen said although she is a community student, she chose to live in campus housing so she could experience campus life to the fullest. She added that being able to live with friends not only helped her grow connections with her peers, but also helped her be more responsible.

“Living in Southern Village has given me opportunities to learn some life skills,” Hansen said. “I don’t have a meal plan this year, so I have been able to practice cooking and budgeting for my own groceries. I also think it’s good to learn how to live with other people. Living in an apartment with three other people involves compromise and cooperation, which are important life skills.”

In addition to new residents for the 2021-2022 school year, Southern Village will also be converting the Hickory apartment building — which is currently used for older student housing — into another men’s apartment. According to Mathis, there are currently three men’s Village buildings and six women’s Village buildings, but starting next year, the ratio will be four to six. 

“The reason being is that when we had all the applications in, age and credit wise … it worked out for it to be a guys [apartment building] and not girls,” Mathis said.

Dornburg said she thinks apartment housing should be more readily available to students, especially those juggling multiple responsibilities.

“There are many of us who juggle school and work, have heavier course loads and unique schedules and would greatly benefit from a more house-like living situation,” Dornburg said. “The lack of that option is disappointing, and it’s kind of crazy that we have to wait until our senior year to have a chance at a spot — and even then, it’s not for sure.”

Junior nursing major Karalyn Kaminski, who is a community student living in Village, said she appreciates the opportunity to live on campus. She shared Dornburg’s sentiments that apartment housing is helpful in juggling multiple responsibilities.

“My home life is a bit unstable, making consistent focus on school more challenging,” Kaminski said. “Living here on campus has had a profoundly positive influence on me by providing a safe and supportive environment to live and study in. I love socializing, meeting new people, and being in a more study-conducive environment. I honestly feel at home when I’m here.”

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