Freshmen find new home in International House

Media Credit: Katie Causey | Photo Editor

Freshman Julian Baker, left, and freshman Tom Montano, right, are two of 19 freshmen who live in International House this year.

Some freshmen have found their home on Virginia Avenue this year.

Nineteen freshmen live on the second floor of International House, which also houses nine fraternities and sororities and one floor of sophomores. This marks the first time that freshmen were assigned housing in the building in at least five years.

University spokesman Kurtis Hiatt said in an email that freshmen were assigned to live in the residence hall because there wasn’t space available elsewhere on campus.

“Due to housing availability on campus, a small number of freshmen received assignments to live in International House for this academic year. We do not anticipate housing freshmen in International House in the future,” he said.

Hiatt declined to say exactly how many freshmen live in International House.

Last spring, GW accepted ​45 percent of applicants in an attempt to increase the size of the incoming freshman class by 150 to 200 undergraduate students.

Four freshmen who live in the hall said they haven’t seen the security presence they would have expected – like a campus security aide or University Police Department officer at the front desk where residents tap ­into the building with their GWorlds.

“It’s not like the task force of security you see when they take you into Thurston during [Colonial Inauguration],” Tom Montano, a freshman and International House resident, said.

Hiatt said security measures in residence halls are “adjusted as necessary.”

“All residence halls, including International House, require GWorld tap access and additional security measures are implemented and adjusted as necessary,” he said.

In March, International House was vandalized with swastikas in two separate incidents and the University subsequently installed security cameras in the hall.

M​ike​ Massaroli, a senior and president of the Residence Hall Association who has lived in International House since his sophomore year, said he was initially concerned about how cohesive the residence hall’s community would be because freshmen typically live together in residence halls like Thurston Hall and Potomac House, but he said freshmen “haven’t really ruffled any feathers.”

“It was more a necessity after [GW] realized they were running out of places to put them. My impression was that I-House was a last­-ditch option,” he said.

Living in the hall also comes with some perks, Massaroli said. Freshmen are not usually privy to benefits like balconies, which 24 rooms in International House have, or kitchens, which were renovated in the building last year.

“If I were living in I-House freshman year, I’d be pretty jazzed,” Massaroli said.

At least three rooms in the building that are designed for two students now house three students, Massaroli said, though the University’s housing w​ebsite ​states that all rooms in the residence hall are doubles and singles.

Two freshmen living in International House said they did not request to live there and did not find out about their living arrangement until mid to late August.

“I had never heard of it. I didn’t know what it was,” Julian Baker, a freshman living in International House, said. “I had heard all of the freshmen dorms, but I didn’t even pick this as an option.”

Despite being assigned to live in International House without requesting for the option, Baker said he has been happy with the arrangement because of the small, community atmosphere on his floor.

“There’s this community feel that I really like and think is pretty unique,” Baker said. “People that I know who live in Thurston don’t know anybody on their floor. Sometimes they don’t even know their RA or what they look like.”

Among the two freshmen floors are three rooms of Division I female athletes.

Anna Tapen, a freshman on the women’s soccer team, said she originally was placed in a six-person room in Thurston. But she said some freshmen athletes were then given the opportunity to switch to International House if they could find two other athletes to fill a three-person room.

“It helps to branch out to people who play other sports and people who don’t play any sports,” Tapen said.

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