Coed wings set for Towers Hall

As a ninth floor Towers Hall North resident, sophomore Sarah Chiodo has become accustomed to her living environment, which is entirely female.

She enjoys her living condition well enough that she wouldn’t mind staying there if she doesn’t get accepted as a Residence Assistant next fall.

“If they don’t hire me as an RA, I’m going to be very excited to stay here,” she said.

Come next fall, however, the environment Chiodo has become conformable with will take a different turn – she’ll have male neighbors.

On Feb. 1, Chancellor Donald Mash signed off on the idea of coed dorm wings on the ninth and tenth floors of Towers North and South, which will take effect this fall. The option is only available to upperclassmen returning to the dorms, Housing Director Chuck Major said.

“It will be handled somewhat like (sign ups for the) corner rooms and single rooms,” Major said.

Major said this option is only for upperclassmen because he wants the incoming freshman to get used to campus life before living in a coed wing environment.

Despite the change of scenery, Chiodo feels optimistic about the whole process.

“I’m kind of excited about it. It will be a good change of pace,” Chiodo said. “I think it will be a good, new experience.”

Sophomore Ray French, a 10th floor Towers North resident, said he thinks most students should be mature enough to handle the change.

“The only difference for me … I’d be a little more aware of walking down the hallway in my towel,” French said.

The idea for coed wings came about two years ago, Vice Chancellor Andy Soll said, but at the time was not a common practice. Now UW-La Crosse, UW-Green Bay and UW-Parkside are still implementing the idea today.

Nick Nicklaus, director of Residence Life at UW-La Crosse said in an October interview that coed living has been a “resounding success.”

“There’s been a higher percentage of students returning to (coed halls),” Nicklaus said in an October interview. “It has been received very well.”

UHC developed the idea last semester and sent a recommendation to Major. Major then delivered it to Associate Vice Chancellor Bill Harms. He sent his recommendation to Soll, who then passed it onto Mash for its final approval.

The idea will go through next fall as a pilot program. From there, if it becomes successful, it will stay active. If not, it easily can be removed, Soll said.

“I’m very hopeful that we can create a more natural feeling living environment,” he said. “Students that live in academic halls tend to do better (academically).”