After three years of sharing a room, relying on Cheney for every meal, and having the label of living in a dorm, most incoming seniors at Springfield College are ready to live in senior housing.
Between the Senior Suites and Townhouses, the seniors have it made. They worked hard these past three years to live in these fine establishments, and now they can have them. While the Suites have their own perks, living in the Townhouses senior year seems to be a privilege of its own.
Built in 1991, the Townhouses became the first apartment-style living center on campus. Equipped with all the elements of a typical apartment, the biggest perk of all are the two giant backyards that connect Townhouses one through 10, and 11 through 20.
Over the years, the backyards of the Townhouses have turned into the place to go and hang out on the weekends. The backyards provide a safe area for all Springfield College students to socialize, drink and hang out with their friends.
As of last year, things changed a bit.
“In the past, there was a concern about underage drinking occurring within the Townhouses, and therefore making it difficult for seniors to enjoy their community,” explained Director of Housing and Residence Life, Tarome Alford.
The issue of underage drinking became a great concern of the administration’s last fall, which ended in the result of banning students under the age of 21 from the backyards of the Townhouses when alcohol is present.
Since then, the rules have been kind of shaky, but this fall, Residence Life staff along with Suites and Townhouses Resident Directors and Assistants implemented a plan that seems to be working thus far.
“The Townhouse rule that is in place allows for seniors to wear wristbands indicating that they are of legal age to drink, and their guests must be 21 years of age in order to obtain a wristband. The wristbands will allow for guests to enter the backyards. The Senior Suites also have wristbands, which are distributed to the residents that are of legal age. Students that are not seniors are permitted to come to the Townhouse complex; however, it is with the understanding that the students cannot be in the backyards if alcohol is present,” Alford said.
Each week, each Townhouse is distributed different color wristbands. Each wristband is stamped with the date of that upcoming weekend. If a student under the age of 21 is found in the backyard while alcohol is present, that particular student will face disciplinary sanctions, as well as the residents of the Townhouse who allowed the student underage into the backyards.
While most students respect and understand the rules, there are many, especially those under the age of 21, that still see the new rules as unfair and unjust.
“Thus far [the new rules] have affected me because I want to go see my friends that I have been friends with for the past three years. They want to have me over, and I want to be able to do whatever I want with them,” junior Katherine D’Amelio explained.
Like many others, D’Amelio sees this as an invitation to spend her weekend nights off campus, which has stirred its own issues in the past.
“I feel like they’re telling me to go off campus,” said D’Amelio. “I think that is telling us to be unsafe. If we’re on campus, at least we’re in the backyard of the Townhouses where there is a fence and you’re safe with your friends. If you’re off campus you’re with God knows who at God knows where.”
While many students are still angered by the new Townhouse rules, so far everyone seems to be respecting the new guidelines.
“For the most part, everyone has been following the rules,” said head RA of the Townhouses, Liz Hurley. “Obviously, with all rules there are some people who violate them, but it has been dealt with and it really hasn’t been a big issue. People have been taking responsibility for their actions as well. They are moderating themselves. [Besides] some minor reminders, everything has been going well.”
While the SC community seems to have mixed feelings on the new rules, it seems that as of right now the new guidelines are here to stay.