Traditions are a great source of pride at Springfield College. They are the reason that first-years don the ever-stylish beanies during their first days on campus, the reason why there is an absence of footprints on those well-kept and cherished blades of grass, and the reason that there is a whole day dedicated to trading classes for service jobs out in the Springfield community. These practices have been constants on campus for years, and give a sense of comradery to Springfield College students, faculty, and staff, old and new. Up until move-in day on September 3, 2017, an all-male Alumni Hall would’ve fallen into that category as well.
This is a custom that has been in place even before Springfield College was born, formerly being known as the International YMCA Training School. A male-only institution that was dedicated to fostering well-rounded, Christian men, female faces on campus were slim to none. However, it was in 1933 that women were first allowed to enroll, and in 1951, they were finally accepted as full-time students. The school’s name was officially changed to Springfield College three years later.
Steps were consistently taken throughout the years in an effort to promote diversity throughout the campus. However, among all the changes there was still one element that remained, paying homage to the history of the International YMCA Training School: Alumni Hall.
The four-floor building features a number of double-occupancy rooms, and nearly 170 singles. That second statistic was one of the driving factors in making the dorm co-ed, as women on campus were left to manage with only 12 single rooms in traditional housing. Now, students of all genders have equal access to housing options.
This change was one that took a bit of getting used to for some students, not because they wished for Alumni to remain male-only, but because it simply had always been that way.
“When I first found out Alumni was becoming a co-ed dorm, I didn’t really know how I felt. I had a lot of close guy friends who lived there, and my immediate thought was that tradition was being broken,” said junior Kellse Ericson. “But as I really thought about it, I saw it as a time for change. Before Alumni became co-ed, women didn’t have nearly as many opportunities to live in single-style dorm rooms as the men on campus.”
Ericson became one of the many women to seize the opportunity to be the first inaugural class of females in the dorm. Now that move-in day has come and gone, she has settled in quite nicely to her new digs, and recognizes the substantiality of being able to do so.
“As a woman living in Alumni for its first year as a co-ed dorm, I feel as though in a small way, I’m a part of history as it’s unfolding, which is such an empowering feeling.”