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WCU adopts sophomore residency requirement

fr wcuIt’s official. Starting with the 2016-17 academic year, sophomores attending Western Carolina University will be required to live on campus.

“We have a philosophy of students learning better by growing into their responsibilities. First-year students need that residence hall experience,” said Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Sam Miller. “It’s often their first time living away from home.”


Currently, freshmen at WCU must reside on campus. This week, the university adopted the sophomore residency requirement.

Miller said that having students live on campus better ensures their immersion in university life.

“They’re not as likely to cocoon in their technology bubble,” he said. “We want them to get involved with campus life.”

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There’s also another reason: logistics. The university is looking to make sure it can fill beds on campus.

By August 2016, the school plans to add between 250 and 350 beds as part of an on-campus mixed-use development. There are also plans to add an additional 300 beds to the Buchanan Residence Hall by 2017.

“We have a responsibility to make sure the residence hall system is on solid footing,” said Miller. 

Requiring that sophomores, in addition to freshmen, live on campus gives WCU an expanded pool of residents. It’s expected that  upperclassmen — juniors and seniors — will naturally phase themselves out of campus housing. 

“By the time you’re a junior or senior, we think you should live off campus,” Miller said. 

WCU freshman Jessica Matthews said she doesn’t have any problems with the university instituting the sophomore residency requirement. 

“I was probably going to do that anyway,” Matthews said, taking a pause from a cross-campus walk.

Fellow freshman Conner Fox also said he didn’t mind the new requirement. Although, he could see where the policy could ruffle some feathers.

“I feel like if you can afford that and you want to live off campus, it should be an option,” Fox said, dismissing any argument that paints underclassmen as not mature enough for off-campus living — “I feel like ‘mature’ is a relative term.”

Standing outside of Scott residence hall, freshman Davis Wilson said he could see both sides of the issue. 

“There’s pros and cons to everything,” Wilson said, before conceding that the new requirement was “not necessarily a bad thing.”

Ryan Archer is a junior at WCU. He’s also a residence assistant, or RA, in the Benton dorm on campus. He’s a proponent of on-campus living.

“I think that living on campus is part of the experience you get here,” Archer said. “Overall, I think it’s good. I think it’s a positive move.”

WCU’s new sophomore residency requirement became official policy this month. The policy won’t take effect, though, until next fall. Even then, students currently enrolled at WCU won’t be impacted, as this year’s freshman class is grandfathered in and insulated against the requirement. 

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