Book ranks Ball State housing 27 in the nation

Despite recent overcrowding problems with Ball State's on-campus housing, a national publication has ranked the university's residence halls among the top in the country.

The 2003 edition of "The Unofficial, Unbiased Insider's Guide to the 320 Most Interesting Colleges" ranked Ball State at 27 in the top residence programs for freshmen. Of the universities in the category, which include UCLA, Penn State, University of Illinois and Texas A&M, Ball State was the only Indiana college listed.

Alan Hargrave, director of Housing and Residence Life, said he is proud of the work the staff and student leaders do, but also pointed out that the work is never done.

"It motivates us to provide the best service and to improve facilities," Hargrave said.

Cathy Bickel, assistant director of Housing and Residence Life, said the recognition for their programs are mostly due to the many options that are available in the residence halls. These options include Freshman Connections, where students are connected with students whom they have courses with during their first semester.

The news comes in light of Ball State's recent problems with overcrowding, where study lounges have been converted into rooms big enough to house up to four students . Hargrave said he is certain that the overcrowding is not an issue and has not affected the halls in the top-ranked programs.

"Our only problem is we have some who don't want to move because they have gotten accommodated to their floor and got to know their roommates, and they're comfortable where they are."

Hargrave also said the overflow housing is a fairly common practice, and that at many schools, including some who are among the top 27, there is such a huge housing shortage that students stay in temporary housing all year.

Bickel said Ball State is able to physically have accommodations to offer overflow students, and that the overcrowding issue is only new to the recent generation of students at Ball State.

"It is unusual for Ball State in recent years," she said. "(However), if you were here six years ago, it's nothing new."

Freshman David Jack, who lives in Hurst Hall, said the Lafollette Complex would be much better if it had some of the same amenities given to other residence halls, such as air conditioning.

"I don't see why they wouldn't have air conditioning," he said. "I would pay the extra cost if I had the option to have one built."

While some students may argue about the recent rating, many students, though surprised about the news, were happy about their housing situation.

Freshman Nichole Robison said she and her neighbors in Knotts Hall are like family and that she feels more fortunate to live in Lafollette than in any other complex.

"When you come on our floor, it's like we've been friends forever," Robison said.

The freshman students say their friendship was partially due to Freshman Connections and agree that the school deserves the rating given.

Bickel said the success of the programs are due to the creativeness and dedication of the staff at Housing and Residence Life.

"When you have a great, talented group of people in a department that is very student-focused, you can compete with any school," she said.


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