By Abbe Kaplan
While the beauty of Chapel Walk or Shorney’s infamy may never change, Denison is always in a state of transformation. The administration of the college made several important decisions over the summer months that have changed many aspects of campus, from the way certain residence halls are structured to where students can host parties with alcohol. The Denisonian reviews some important changes to the Denison experience that happened over the summer or very recently.
Shep 6-mans converted
Last year marked the curtain call for the (in)famous Shep six-man suites. This year the suites on either end of Shepherdson Hall were converted into three triples each.
The decision was made by Director of Residential Education Kristan Hausman in collaboration with the DCGA-elected Residential Life Advisory Committee. Hausman had realized as early as 2012 that six-man suites were the most difficult rooms to “sell” during housing lottery.
The new arrangement proved popular; the new Shep triples were among the first rooms picked by rising juniors and sophomores, according to Hausman. “It is clear that there was a demand for it,” she said. Three-person groups are easier to get together; triples are also more than $1,000 less expensive than suites.
Hausman had the inner doors at the ends of the hallways removed and the largest rooms converted to triples over the summer. The re-arrangement allows Shepardson to house an additional 18 students annually; critical for accommodating the large first-year class of 2018.
New social spaces and policies
High demand from students to create larger on-campus spaces for parties has led the administration to open five new “social spaces” this year. These spaces are registrable under party registration, which allows for the serving of alcohol. Good Hall lounge, Knobel Hall in Burton Morgan, Lamson Lodge, Sunset Lodge and the Roost can now be used as registrable party spaces.
In addition to these spaces becoming available, some other policies surrounding parties have been amended. Kegs of beer, which were previously prohibited campus wide, will be permitted in these spaces although hosts will be expected to adhere to the related guidelines.
In an email to all students Vice President for Student Development Laurel Kennedy explained that administrators will “meet with student focus groups throughout the fall to get feedback and make any needed policy adjustments.”
In the same email, Kennedy elucidated several other changes related to social life, such as the divisional relocation of campus Security from the Office of Finance and Management, overseen by Seth Patton, to the Office of Student Development, overseen by Kennedy herself. Campus Security has been renamed Campus Safety.
Student Development will also begin “recruiting” Peer Safety Monitors, who will be “employed, trained, and paid by Campus Safety to manage events alongside registered hosts.” According to Kennedy’s email, these Monitors will manage events held the aforementioned common spaces.
Campus service centers will also now give students who are over 21 the option of getting a new student ID card. Kennedy promised a new “orientation” and color (blue) for these IDs.
Writing program starts up
The Denisonian published a piece last October announcing the end of First-Year Seminar (FYS) courses (“The end of FYS program,” Oct. 10, 2013). Since then, all of the details of the new program have been worked out and are in effect for students of the class of 2018. According to an email from Susan Kosling, executive assistant to the provost, the writing program that will replace these classes is “more holistic and developmental,” and focuses on “critical writing skills needed for post-graduate success.”
Students must take one Writing Workshop, W101, during their first year. The program is designed to develop students’ writing skills throughout their time at Denison through two additional Writing Intensive Seminars, at least one of which must be taken sophomore year. Students are also now expected to complete other writing requirements designated by the department of their major.
Denison Seminars begin
Five Denison Seminars are being offered for the first time this semester. These are courses that explore “interdisciplinary, extradisciplinary, or integrative topics that transcend traditional departmental, programmatic, and/or divisional boundaries,” according to the course catalogue. The Seminars are limited to sophomores and juniors. Essentially, the DS format allows professors to explore new forms of education and interdisciplinary work.
Many of these are team-taught by two professors, such as “Shakespeare by the Sword,” a course taught by theatre professor Cheryl McFarren and English professor Peter Grandbois. It combines fencing and stage combat by exploring the plays of William Shakespeare, said Imani Abernathy ‘16, a music voice performance major from Chicago. She appreciates the different expertise that each professor brings to the table; “They each have their own specialty but are working so well together.” The class will also be traveling to Canada next weekend to attend a Shakespeare festival.
Other Denison Seminars include “Ecolo-Nomics,” “Neighbor to the North: History, Arts, Culture and Politics in Canada,” “The Renaissance of Psychoanalytic Thought: Studying Freud in the 21st Century,” and “Divided Cities in Film and History.”