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First-year programs aim to help freshmen

Posted October 4th, 2013 by nanjan

[Septermber 29, 2013 -- Corvallis Gazette-Times] – One of the first pieces of action in the Collaboration Corvallis project was announced, oddly enough, at a meeting of the Corvallis Economic Development Commission.

On Aug. 15, 2012, Oregon State University President Ed Ray told the commission that beginning in the fall of 2013, freshmen would be required to live on campus.

Ray cited research showing that students who live on campus perform better in school and noted that if more students live on campus, that would reduce congestion in nearby neighborhoods.

And so was born the “first-year experience.”

Roughly 80 percent of OSU freshmen lived on campus in the 2012-13 school year, with university officials predicting that number will reach 90 percent with the group that starts classes Monday.

The program has required some housing adjustments. Finley Hall, which was not fully used a year ago, is back on line and the university has converted some double rooms to triple rooms to meet the demand, said Dan Larson of University Housing and Dining Services.

Larson estimated capacity at about 4,650 students. OSU is expecting a similar number of freshmen in the fall of 2014.

A new residence hall with room for 300 students is under construction in the southwest part of campus, and when it opens in September 2014, the university will convert the triple rooms back to doubles, said Larson.

University officials, however, were adamant that the program extends beyond housing.

“It’s more than just a request to live on campus,” said Steve Clark, OSU vice president for marketing and university relations.

“The first-year experience initiative is a broad-reaching set of actions and enhancements,” said Susie Brubaker-Cole, associate provost for academic success and engagement.

Read the full article by James Day and see photos at www.gazettetimes.com.

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