Senate approves new open house hours

By Drea Mast, Contributing Writer

Goshen College finalized plans to change open house and quiet hours for underclassmen dormitories, taking effect in the 2013-2014 school year. The new hours will be 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. from Sunday to Thursday and 10 a.m. to 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. Previously, the open house hours began at noon every day and ended at 11 p.m. on weekdays and midnight on weekends.

The visitation policy has changed even from last year, when only residents from their own floor could access a hall during open hours. Now students are admitted onto floors of the same gender at all times of the day. This policy will remain the same, but the hours for opposite gender visitation will be extended.

Residence Life has been considering this option since last fall after an initial proposition by Student Senate and extensive research at other universities. Ben Shelly, a first year Student Senate member, was instrumental in the success of this enactment by polling students and proposing the new hours.

“I perceived on campus that there would be a lot of student support for extended hours,” Shelly said. “I also considered incoming students. When [they] are looking at our school, it makes a difference if they think our rules are more strict and conservative.”

The lengthened hours allow increased opportunity for socializing or working on group projects. Chad Coleman, director of Residence Life, said, “It seems like a great compromise for students and residence life staff. Students will be able to start a movie at 11 p.m. on a Saturday night without worrying about violating the open house hours policy at midnight.”

However, the modification could take some adjusting. The Residence Life staff will have increased responsibilities as Resident Assistants (RA) to turn off the lights at the end of open hours. To decrease the requirement for all RAs to stay up late, they will rotate shifts to check on floors on weekend nights.

“Personally, I wouldn’t really enjoy staying up late, but it’ll be nice for people to spend time together without competition for connectors,” said current RA Brianna Brubaker, though she also admits, “I feel like it’s an invitation to get less sleep.”

Also, sleeping and showering routines could be disrupted, but Student Senate believes that students should be up by 10 a.m., the time that required events such as convocation and chapel begin. Matt Pletcher, a first-year,  said, “People will be courteous enough to be quiet in the morning. I hope so, at least.”

Though the possibility of challenges is present, Student Senate and Residence Life are excited about the new hours. According to Coleman, “The best part of our new visitation hours is it promotes both academics and community life.”

Through this change, Student Senate wants to show students that they have influence over campus policy. “I hope students see that if there’s things they want done or feel strongly about, they can achieve things,” Shelly said.

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