Mitchell to become freshman housing, Lafayette to take sophomores

Media Credit: Jordan McDonald | Hatchet Photographer

Mitchell Hall currently houses 50 freshmen, but will house a community of 170 to 200 freshmen next year according to GW Housing & Financial Services Director Seth Weinshel.

Mitchell Hall will be converted into a primarily freshman residence hall for the first time next year.

A group of 50 freshmen has lived in Mitchell this academic year, giving officials the chance to test how students new to college like living in the building. Rooms in Mitchell – which were also available to sophomores, juniors, seniors and transfers this year – don’t have the kitchens that most other non-freshman halls offer, and most rooms don’t have private bathrooms.

Lafayette Hall houses a freshman community this year, but it will transition into a sophomore hall next year.

Director of GW Housing Programs Seth Weinshel said Mitchell’s size will allow for a community of 170 to 200 freshmen to be concentrated in one place, instead of being split between Lafayette and Mitchell.

“Mitchell has housed small numbers of freshmen previously, and the communities have been strong and well-integrated,” Weinshel said.

In recent years, students have complained about leaks and broken ceilings inside the building, which is more than 85 years old.

Ari Massefski, the president of the Residence Hall Association, said freshmen will thrive in Mitchell, a singles-only hall, because they will be encouraged to keep their doors open more often. Since the rooms are small, students usually go to common spaces to mingle.

“There are two floors there that have freshmen right now, and those are the best communities in Mitchell,” Massefski said. “Those are the floors where people have their doors open, and people on the floor are friends with each other.”

Massefski also said the move will mean that the majority of freshmen on Foggy Bottom will live in the same area of campus – a boon for students looking for a sense of community while living in a city.

The shakeup is just one of several recent changes to Lafayette and Mitchell halls.

Both have been used in the past to house transfer students. Lafayette housed first-year students in 2011 and then, after a year of housing transfers, became a freshman hall again last year as District House construction forced three halls to close.

Hope Gillespie, a freshman who lives in Lafayette, said Mitchell’s single rooms could prevent freshmen from having the same social opportunities as students in other freshman-only halls.

“I think having a single as a freshman would have made me less social,” Gillespie. “I was really close with my roommate at the beginning of the year before I branched out and made other friends.”

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