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Survey results lead to housing changes

By DaYona McLean (@dmclean__109) & Chelsea Burwell (@TheChelseaBwell)
On February 28, 2013

  • Kassem Smith, oratorical chairman for the Demont P. Cox Oratorical Contest, adresses the crowd.


During fall 2012 semester, 43 percent of the Winston-Salem State students living on campus participated in a comprehensive survey asking what they wanted and what they needed.

Because of the student responses, hall renovations, policy changes and new programs will be implemented effective fall 2013.

A focus group of freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors met with housing and residence life staff monthly to provide feedback about dorm living conditions.


The focus group reported that students wanted new paint, carpet, furniture and improved community space. "We're looking at different needs for the

halls," said Abeer Mustafa, housing and residence life director.

The results indicated that the majority of the students surveyed expressed overall satisfaction with: the services provided by the resident assistant; hall programming; the variety of pro- gramming in the halls; and most were likely to encourage new students to live on campus.

The national average for participation in a first time survey of this type for a University is 24 percent.


"First we're looking at life safety, so there are two halls that need brand new roofs. So right now were prioritizing based off what the needs are for life safety."

Mustafa said they [hous- ing] have their capital projects listed and now they're going in and putting price tags on all of the renovations.

"My wish list for the renovations would probably cost about $1 million," she said.

"Reality is I don't have that kind of money, so I kind of just have to prioritize."

Rams Commons, Gleason- Terrace, Brown, Wilson and Atkins halls will be closed dur- ing the summer for renovations. That includes painting and bathroom, elevator and roof repairs. The halls will also get new furniture, laun- dry equipment, card swiping machines and new study room furniture.

"Some of the repairs like toi- lets, roof repair, hot water heaters don't make you go, 'Wow'; unfortunately, these are the things students don't see when they go into their rooms," said Peter Blutreich, housing and residence assistant director.

"But they will see new card swipes, door locks and new furniture," he said.

"We want students to feel like their resident halls are their homes."

Blutreich said housing is working on putting state of the art fitness equipment in some of the halls.

"We don't want to duplicate what's in the new Student Activities Center," he said.

Blutreich said the focus group is very reasonable in their requests.

"They [the focus group] are also talking to their friends and bringing back their input."

The housing structure will also be changed.

Mustafa said freshmen will be living with freshmen, all sophomores will be housed together and juniors and seniors will be housed together.

She said students must have a 2.8 GPA or higher and be at least a sophomore to stay in Rams Commons.

She said Rams Commons Building 2 will be an honors building. Housing will also offer: in-hall advising and tutoring; living and learning communities; thematic housing; a faculty-in-residence pro- gram; and a 12-month residential leasing option.

Mustafa said living and learning communities are 13 academically based programs that bring in physicians, lawyers or business people to speak with the students about their professions. Also, with this program students do community service within their fields.

She said the thematic housing is based on interests and learning about different cultures.

Mustafa said students enrolled for the academic year but not for the summer will be able to choose a 12-month leasing option for Foundation Heights.

"The rent will be based off the cost to stay in the hall for a whole semester and the cost will be on our website in a week or so."

The lottery process, which was implemented in 2009, will no longer be used.

Mustafa said the way housing is being launched now is if a group of four students want to become roommates they get first priority.

The first week in April a group of four will have two days to select their rooms. The following week a group of three will have two days.

"Then we'll open it up to all the other students."

Blutreich said groups of four are really important because most students don't know their roommates.

"I walk into a room and see you, your refrigerator, locks on your stuff and nothing in your living room because you don't even know the people that are living beside you let alone across the living room," he said.

"That's poor community, so now we're putting it on the students, if you can find three people that you like you can sign up to stay with them."

Blutreich said sophomores now have to stay on campus and they [housing] want to make staying in residence halls as attractive as possible.

"We want to create new things for the students staying on campus," he said.

"For example like a business majors themed floor, if you're interested in business you can live on this floor and professors or folks from the community can come in and talk about jobs and careers."

Blutreich said the floors are no longer gender based unless there's a community bathroom on that particular floor.

"A female could live in Wilson 203 and a male in Wilson 204."

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