Widgets Magazine

Undergrads move into Rains for first time

Rains Houses, an apartment complex traditionally reserved for graduate students, welcomed 39 undergraduates this fall. As part of the University’s response to a shortage of on-campus rooms for undergraduates, Student Housing last spring made Rains an option to students participating in the Draw.

“Nearly 2,000 beds have been added in graduate housing over the past 18 years, while almost no new bed spaces were added in undergraduate housing during that period,” Rodger Whitney, executive director of Student Housing, wrote in an e-mail to The Daily. “We plan to meet this challenge in the short term by temporarily setting aside a small number of spaces in graduate housing until additional undergraduate residences are built in the next few years.”

Trees shade the exterior of Rains. Courtesy of Celeste Noche.

The 800-person Rains complex this year includes 38 current seniors and one junior. The undergraduates were placed exclusively in Building 201, located near Mirrielees and separated from the rest of Rains by the Hacienda Commons area. Like all Rains residents, the students live in one of two apartment configurations: one consisting of four bedrooms and two bathrooms and the other of two bedrooms and one bathroom. All students receive their own bedroom, and the common space of each apartment includes a living room, kitchen and dining area.

The allure of a single room prompted Michael Nguyen ’11 to list Rains as one of his housing choices. Nguyen drew Tier Three with one of his friends, also a senior, and the pair ended up in a four-bedroom setup with two other seniors.

“I really wanted my own room,” said Nguyen. “The setup is nice in that we all get our own single, but we share a common room.”

Nguyen expressed interest in using the common area for small parties and informal get-togethers, the kind of socializing resident assistant and coterminal student Kelly Eaton ’10 hopes to encourage among draw groups.

“Undergraduate college is soon going to be over for [the residents],” Eaton said. “I’m here to let them know it’s going to end quickly and that they should have fun their senior year.”

To ensure her residents enjoy their last year on the Farm, Eaton has planned various activities, including a welcome dinner this Sunday and a ski trip later in the year. In addition, she hopes to organize a group to attend Pub Night each Thursday.

Whitney emphasized the importance of ensuring that the students in Rains still felt like members of the undergraduate student body. In addition to enjoying the presence of an RA, the undergrads at Rains are considered part of the Mirrielees house community and have access to all staff, facilities and activities in Mirrielees.

“When we assign undergraduates to graduate housing, it is important that we house all of the students in the same building/area and hire staff

Each Rains apartment has a common kitchen and living space. Courtesy of Celeste Noche.

(RAs, etc.) to support them and their specific undergraduate needs,” Whitney said. “We also want to associate them with an undergraduate residence, with its associated community and resources.”

While Celeste Noche ’11 appreciates the University resources available to the Rains undergrads, she explained that she opted for the living situation because it offers a more realistic sense of life after the Farm.

“It’s a good middle step before I enter the real world and have to buy groceries and deal with housing,” she said.

Noche noted the practicality of such things as learning to cook and building a housing resume prior to college graduation. The introduction of undergraduates in Rains may expose them to yet another bit of uncharted territory: interaction with graduate students.

“I really hope that the graduate community welcomes undergrads,” Nguyen said. “I haven’t had a chance to see what the interaction between the two student bodies will be.”

Eaton is optimistic that the undergrads will have positive encounters with the older students.

“I hear the term ‘sketchy grad student’ thrown around [among undergraduates],” she said. “But after meeting a group of grad students, I really think they’re like older freshmen and need to be looked upon in a new light. They’re nice, and we can learn from them.”