The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Morgan Shiver, Contributor • June 20, 2024

Residential Commons Program to create closeness across campus

This fall semester incoming first-years and sophomores will feast their eyes on the long-awaited Residential Commons.

Located next to the Dedman Center, these new commons include five residence halls, one dining hall and 800 parking spaces.

A total of $146 million has been spent to build SMU’s first Residential College model complex. The model will also be adopted across campus.

Jennifer Post, the director of Residential Life at SMU, has worked with many people on this project for six years, planning beyond the physical dimensions of the complex.

In addition to creating space for first and second year students, Jeff Grim, the associate director for Academic Initiatives and Campus Partnerships and part of the team, also recruited selected faculty to live in the Residential Commons.

“We want students to build relationships with their faculty outside of the classroom,” Post said.

Furthermore, she hopes the faculty will be a catalyst for creating a closer-knit community amongst students in the Residential Commons.

“Faculty will mentor students and upper-class students will mentor first-year students,” he said.

The dynamic for a unified community seems more plausible with the new Residential Commons; moreover, it is increasingly so since it is mandatory for sophomores to live on-campus.

But what if second year students had the option to live off campus?

Sophomore Hyun Song said that if given the choice, she would live off campus.
“There’s more privacy and freedom off-campus. [I could have] a pet, a private bathroom and bedroom, a kitchen and more space in general,” Song said.

Sophomore Olivia Schmid said she would still live on-campus even if it was not mandatory.

“I would still choose to live on- campus this year because I’m taking a heavy class load and it saves time for me to be able to eat and live on -campus,” Schmid said.

Although there are some contradicting views regarding mandatory on-campus living, both underclassmen believe the Residential Commons will help SMU students become tighter knit as a whole.

“I think SMU is a close-knit community within each smaller group that exists among students, but as a whole, probably not as much. [The Residential Commons] will definitely help,” Song said.

Schmid agrees that SMU is not as close as it could be, and that the Residential Commons is a stepping-stone to improving this.

“I think having freshman, faculty and sophomores live together could help bridge this gap a little bit, but ultimately people will want to spend time with other like-minded people,” Schmid said.

With the construction of the Residential Commons finally complete, incoming students and faculty will be able to experience a more integrated community in this small setting.

Grim is excited to see how students respond to the ideas they have been planning for years.

“We are confident that we have created a good product that students will enjoy.,” Grim said.

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