Residential Life - Residence Hall Changes

Manchester is working hard to improve retention and encourage students to engage fully in the life of the MU community. To support that effort, the offices of Student Experience and Residential Life have been asked to think differently about our housing and the experience that first-year students have in residence halls.

To that end, for the 2018-2019 academic year, we are designating East Hall and most of Garver Hall as residence halls for first-year students. First-years will live only in East and Garver while upperclass students (all sophomores, all juniors and the seniors who elect to live on campus) will live only in Helman, Oakwood, Schwalm and a small portion of Garver (ground floor and half of first floor).

It is our goal that by placing first-year students in halls together, we can strengthen their experience as part of a learning community. This arrangement will encourage first-year students to develop stronger ties with individuals and groups on campus as well as an affinity for Manchester. It will better connect students to campus resources, encourage them to use support services, and help them clarify the value of their college experience.

We understand that this information may be surprising and upsetting to many of our returning students and that you will have additional questions. For those concerned about housing costs, we have restructured pricing for the residence halls for the 2018-2019 academic year. Instead of basing the price on amenities of the halls, we will have two prices determined by hall style: traditional-style halls (East, Garver and Schwalm) and suite-style halls (Helman and Oakwood). The prices for the traditional-style halls will be the same as the price for East this year, meaning that students who chose East based on the cost will not pay more by moving to Schwalm. The annual breakdown for double rooms will be:

East  Hall - Double Occupancy                $5,250
Schwalm Hall - Double Occupancy                $5,250
Garver Hall - Double Occupancy                $5,250
Helman and Oakwood Halls - Double Occupancy                $7,100

We want all undergraduate students who live on campus to have a positive experience and we welcome your ideas about enhancing hall life in Schwalm, Helman and Oakwood.  Administration is looking at potential ways we can make updates to Schwalm in the near future. We have attached a FAQ below that we hope will answer many of your questions.

You also have the option of going to the Residence Hall Association (RHA), the governing body of student leadership in the residence halls, as another avenue for giving feedback. Their General Assembly meeting is every other Wednesday at 9:00 pm in the JYSC.

 Additionally, Melanie Lawson, director of residential life, always welcomes students in small groups or individually if they would like to meet at other times to talk about these changes. Please contact the Student Experience Center (SEC) to schedule an appointment if you are interested in meeting directly with Melanie. Stop by the SEC office in Calvin Ulrey Hall 220, call (260) 982-5052 or email


Frequently Asked Questions

Why East and Garver?

They are centrally located and able to house the first-year class in close proximity. The entire first-year class will not fit into any one residence hall, so we knew we needed to use one and most of a second and East and Garver were the most logical choices.

All of East and Garver?

All of East will be for first-year students. In Garver, the ground floor and half of first floor will be available to upperclass students through room renewal in April. The rest of Garver (half of first floor and all of second and third floors) will be for first-year students.

How can I opt into living on one of the upperclass floors in Garver?

We will have a lottery system for current residents of Garver and East to request Garver. No student in East or Garver will be able to retain (“squat”) their room this year. Anyone wanting to live on the Garver upperclass floors will need to enter the lottery. Residential Life will send more details about this system in March when we are closer to room renewal in April.

Can anyone live on the upperclass Garver floors?

This year, Residential Life will give preference to current Garver and East residents in the lottery for the upperclass Garver spaces

What if Schwalm and the upperclass floors of Garver fill up and I want to live there? Do I have to go to a suite-style hall?

Based on our past experience, we do not anticipate this happening. If it does, the Office of Residential Life will work with any student to make sure they have housing they can comfortably afford.

But I can’t afford Helman or Oakwood – I chose East because it is the least expensive. What are my options?

We will not force students who still want to live in an affordable, traditional-style hall into a higher priced suite-style against their will. In response to these changes, we have adjusted our pricing for the residence halls to make all traditional-style halls (East, Garver and Schwalm) the same price, which is the same price as East Hall this academic year.

What does the pricing for the residence halls next year look like?

East Hall - Double Occupancy


Schwalm Hall - Double Occupancy


Garver Hall - Double Occupancy


Helman and Oakwood Halls - Double Occupancy


What if a first-year student wants to live in Helman and Oakwood? Or if a first-year wants to live with an upperclass student they knew before coming to Manchester?

First-year students are not given that option. Our suite-style housing is for upperclass students only.

What about transfer students?

For students transferring in with credit standing or age that makes them significantly different from a traditional first-year student, we will house them in upperclass housing and not in the first-year residence halls.

The first-year halls can be very noisy and social. What if a first-year student does not want that type of environment?

We are exploring making some floors in East and Garver designated quiet floors to offer options to first-year students. The top floor of Oakwood Hall will remain a quiet-designated floor for upperclass students. Depending on student demand, we could convert a floor or part of a floor in Schwalm to a quiet floor if needed.

How does this affect programming in the halls?

Residential Life is building a new programming model for East and Garver that will cater to first-year students and the experiences they have transitioning to college life.

How does this affect hall councils in East and Garver?

This is yet to be determined and will be decided in collaboration with the Residence Hall Association (RHA) to ensure student leadership in East and Garver.

How does this affect the traditions of East and Garver, such as Wing Wars and the shoe ceremony in Garver?

The traditions do not need to end, but might need to be modified. Long-standing programs such as Wing Wars and the Easter Egg Hunt in East Hall can continue in first-year halls. Or students who are passionate about those programs could join the hall councils of Helman, Oakwood or Schwalm and work to introduce those traditions to a new hall.

Every hall here as a distinct personality. How will this be affected by the changes?

The students – not the bricks and mortar – are the ones who uphold traditions and create a hall’s personality. In fact, the personality of each hall morphs every year to reflect the students living there. We anticipate those personalities will continue to morph as we shift the demographics of the halls.

Are they going to do renovations in Schwalm, East and Garver this summer?

Facilities Management is working on plans to do some renovations but will not be able to do significant work in all three halls this summer because of limited time. There is a long-term plan for upgrades and renovations to the halls over the next few years. Administration is looking at ways to make updates in Schwalm in the near future to enhance the amenities and community there.

But East and Garver aren’t accessible to people with disabilities. What if we have a first-year who has a disability?

As we do now, we will always work with students who have disabilities to make sure they have housing that accommodates their individual needs. We do those on a case-by-case basis in collaboration with the Disability Support Office in the Success Center. If a student needs to live in a suite-style hall that cannot be reasonably accommodated in East and Garver, we will work with that student to find the right space for them, regardless of their year.

What if we run out of space in Schwalm?

We do not believe this will happen. If it should, we have several contingency plans that will open more space in traditional-style halls for upperclass students in order to make sure students are not forced into suite-style housing if they would prefer traditional-style housing.

What data is there to support that this will help retention?

First-year housing and living learning communities are time-tested, data-driven methods that have been in use for many years and show measurable, documented results.

“An intentional focus on retention by all units within insitutions, including residence life programs, typically is necessary to meet enrollment management goals. To be effective in this regard, Schroeder (1993) notes that staff in residence life programs must understand the rates of persistence and attrition within their housing systems and how these rates contribute to larger enrollment patterns. In fact, simply having on-campus housing available can decrease attrition. Numerous studies have indicated that residence hall living has a positive impact on persistence and graduation (Pascarella & Terenzini, 2005; Pascarella, Terenzini & Blimling, 1994; Schuh, 1999a). Referencing Upcraft (1989), Schuh (1999a) ‘observed that there is an inherent goodness in living in residence halls if staying in college, graduating and achieving personal development are inherently good’ (p.4).”(Zeller, 2008)

Zeller, W. J. (Ed.). (2008). Residence life and the new student experience (Monograph No. 5, 3rd ed.). Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina, National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition.

Additional selected literature:

Wilcox, P., Winn, S., & Fyvie‐Gauld, M. (2005). ‘It was nothing to do with the university, it was just the people’: the role of social support in the first‐year experience of higher education. Studies in Higher Education, 30(6), 707-722. doi:10.1080/03075070500340036

Upcraft, M. L., Gardner, J. N., & Barefoot, B. O. (2005). Challenging and supporting the first-year student: a handbook for improving the first year of college. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Li, Y., Sheely, M. C., II, & Whalen, D. F. (2005). Contributors to Residence Hall Student Retention: Why do Students Choose to Leave or Stay? Journal of College & University Student Housing, 33(2).

How will this impact what Resident Assistants pay for their housing?

We are working on this. All RA candidates and rehires will know what the plan is for this before they have to sign their job agreements for the 2018-2019 year.

Will you use seniority as a determining factor in the Garver lottery?