Ask the VEEP: Residence life edition

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The Archway has teamed up with Dr. John Saddlemire, Vice President of Student Affairs, to provide first-hand answers to questions from the Bryant community. In each “Ask the VEEP” edition, Dr. Saddlemire will answer questions regarding a specified topic. This week, we discussed residence life. The following questions were submitted by students and answered by Dr. Saddlemire himself. If you have any questions that you would like featured in future editions, please email Allie Miller, amiller11@bryant.edu, or submit ideas via Twitter!

Miller: In recent years we have seen a spike in the amount of triples and 7-person suites/townhouses. Are there plans to expand housing facilities on campus?

Saddlemire: At present time, there is a University-wide strategic goal centered on enhancing first year residential halls. Bryant Student Senate has also launched a survey to gather your input about Hall 17. Follow this link to offer your feedback: http://ow.ly/kYjT305Dp84.

In addition to residence hall enhancements, there are three new living options being planned for a fall 2017 launch. The first is a housing option focusing on a holistic, healthy lifestyle. The second is currently in the planning phase but would provide a Research Village during the summer months for those students in the Bryant Scholars group who are doing research to prepare for major academic scholarships like Fulbright or Truman awards. Long-term we hope to have opportunities for these students to be able to live together during the academic year as well, to support their research and preparations for these applications. Finally, we’re going to be launching a sophomore year living learning community for women-identified students. More information on that group will be launched prior to housing selection. We’re excited for these new offerings and hope students will participate in these programs.

Miller: Following the last question, rates of graduate school enrollment are also climbing. Does Bryant plan to develop any Auxiliary Housing services to help accommodate graduate students who might have to live off campus?

Saddlemire: It’s not unusual for Bryant Students to live off-campus. At any given time Bryant averages around 600 undergraduate students who commute to school.  Student Affairs, particularly the Office of Residence Life is working with a variety of constituents to better understand the commuter experiences and meet their needs. We’re partnering with OPIR, which is launching a survey to commuter students to best identify where they are living, their reasons for living off-campus, and what needs they have in their housing situations. We’ve continued to grow our relationship with Providence College to learn from their experiences with students living in the Elmhurst area of Providence, and are cultivating new relationships with those area landlords. We’ve also begun to attend Town Council meetings with the Providence College staff to begin to understand the perspective of Providence Police Department and how they work with these off-campus students, be they Bryant or PC students. Our office hopes to be a resource to provide students with an understanding of their rights and responsibilities as tenants.  Bryant students who live off campus are still members of our community, and we’re here to support them.

Miller: I am a big fan of the weeks toward the end of the semester when therapy dogs visit the roto. Do you think Bryant would consider employing therapy dogs on campus on a regular basis?

Saddlemire: There are many student clubs and organizations that plan these types of stress relief events as part of their annual programming around exam weeks. Provided the organization follow the usual event planning procedures, there is nothing preventing groups from bringing these therapy animal groups onto campus on a more frequently.

There are also many opportunities outside of Bryant University to not only seek the comfort that dogs, cats, and other animals provide, but also give back to the community. A few places where you can volunteer in Rhode Island are just a short drive/ bus ride away:

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