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Whither the Program Houses?

According to the Daily Sun, interst in Cornell's program houses is waning:

Only 40 returning students had signed a housing contract for Ujamaa and participated in room selections as of two weeks ago. According to Black, there are 140 room slots, 30 of which remain open for incoming first-year students. This leaves Ujamaa at only half of its maximum occupancy even after the house extended its application deadline twice, she said.

Ujamaa is not the only program oriented residence hall experiencing a decline in applications. Tarae Howell '07, who works with Campus Life, said all program houses had to extend their application deadlines this year.

Does this mean that Rawlings' West Campus Residential Initiative is a success? Has the Harvard/Yale/Princeton "house system" for upperclassmen on West fostered a greater sense of community than the program houses on North? Or maybe students are just wising up and looking to save money by moving off campus.

Perhaps more importantly, what does this mean for the program houses on North Campus? Will the University disband them and turn them into freshman housing, expanding the size of the freshman class? (Not a bad option, in my opinion.) Or will the University continue to support these fledging ventures in the name of "diversity"?

Matthew Nagowski | Posted on March 06, 2007 (#)

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