“Residential life is becoming cramped”

In IDS on November 4, 2010 at 8:50 am

The IDS did a great job tackling the issue of on-campus housing. I really liked the variety of stories and story forms.


While 268 students moved into floor lounges they would share with three or more students on move-in day in August, about 100 bed spaces remained empty.

“We had about 100 people cancel between Aug. 12 through 25,” said Sara Ivey Lucas, assistant director of assignments for Residential Programs and Services.

But because of confusion surrounding the placements, Ivey Lucas said lounge-dwellers could not be moved to actual rooms until after the school
year began.

At the beginning of the year, every residence hall contained students living in lounges.

Sarah Wells, Read Center president, said at least 11 of the 17 floor lounges in Read were being used as housing at the start of the year.

“When we had floor meetings, half of them didn’t even know where the meeting was,” she said.

Why it works:

  • The story was packed with a variety sources (I counted 8).
  • The reporter captured the conflict between students, RPS and the administration without turning the article into a he said, she said fight.
  • The story includes information about the past (room shortages), present (students in lounges, Union Street Center) and the future (new dorms, conflicting opinions about what should be done).
  • Clear, simple writing.


Freshman Tianyi Xu left Hanjin, China, traveled across the world and moved into McNutt Quad in August.

But she said she still feels like she lives in China.

“I don’t have the feeling I’m in another country because I am surrounded by Asians,”
she said.

University housing policies can contribute to the isolation and subsequent self-segregation of international students on campus. Some residence halls have too many international students, while some have too few and a sort of double-edged sword sometimes ensues.

“If there are too many students from any one country, they can rely on each other so much that they form their own subgroup and don’t reach out,” said John Galuska, director of the Foster International Living-Learning Center. “If there are too few students from one country, they become isolated.”

He said this sometimes happens with groups of Chinese students that live in the same dorm. The Foster LLC has 40 students from China this year.

“They become a force of their own,” Galuska said.

Why it works:

  • A micro lede illustrates how self-segregation works for one person.
  • Data backs up the trend.
  • The story actually made me stop and think about self-segregation. and stereotypes of the dorms. It made me question my assumptions.
  • I learned something! I didn’t know that admission and registration dates are different for international students.

Did anyone else wonder why this story only talked about Chinese students? The overarching message had to do with international students. Yes, the majority (31%) of international students on the Bloomington campus are from China. But would a more diverse mix of students add something to this story?

What did you think of this package? Do you think something was missing? Did you learn something new?


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