Welcome to St. Mary’s, girls and boys

Welcome+to+St.+Mary%E2%80%99s%2C+girls+and+boys

Aubrey Zych, Co-News & Features Editor

For the first time since its construction in 1963, move-in day this year at St. Mary’s meant both girls and boys entering its doors. Beginning this year, St. Mary’s has converted from an all-girls dorm to coed living, now making every dorm on campus coed.

According to Ann Bersani, Associate Director of Campus Life and Leadership, the switch was in response to surveys given to current students and incoming freshmen.

“Just about everyone preferred coed,” Bersani said. “It’s an easier transition from the coed life that most students experienced in high school.”

Beyond surveys, Bersani also stated that research indicates coed living promotes collaborative learning.

“We’ve looked at a wide-range of research that indicates students learn and communicate better in coed housing, compared to single-sex housing,” she said. “We’ve looked at surveys, talked to RAs, and talked to the high school students considering Le Moyne. We just want to provide students [the kind of housing] they want.”

However, when the St. Mary’s switch to coed was officially announced last March, not all students felt that their voices had been heard.

Junior Marc Murdoch, Vice President of Residence Hall Association (RHA) at the time, stated last spring that RHA “never had any say in it.”

Allison Case, a junior who lived in St. Mary’s as a freshman also noted last March that she didn’t support the idea. “I was in St. Mary’s my freshman year and I loved being there,” she said. “It gave us girls a sense of community. We were all in the same situation, being first-year students and having that comfort in knowing that I was able to focus on my schoolwork and not have to worry about boys in the dorm.”

Other students disagreed, saying the switch was long overdue.

According to Liv Seeley, a sophomore that spent a year in St. Mary’s last year, the single-sex dorm almost drove her out of Le Moyne altogether. “I almost transferred schools I hated it so much,” she said. “If I wanted to be in an all girls environment, I would have gone to an all girls school.”

Despite differing opinions amongst the student body, Bersani and Stacey Banfield-Hardaway, Area Director of St. Mary’s and Harrison, are both confident that the switch was a good move.

“The incoming freshmen have had no complaints about it, and the returning sophomores seem to enjoy the atmosphere better,” Banfield-Hardaway said.

Banfield-Hardaway also noted that St. Mary’s and Harrison have remodeled their programming boards to become more collaborative with each other.

“The St. Mary’s RAs and the Harrison RAs meet regularly to intertwine programs and ideas,” she said. “Now we view the two dorms more connected; just two buildings a hallway apart. This has been great for collaborative living and learning.”

Along with its connection to Harrison Hall, St. Mary’s conversion to coed living has had some hidden positive effects. The switch helped many freshmen males in Dablon Hall and Nelligan Hall get out of triples by removing many freshmen females living in singles at St. Mary’s. Director of Campus Life and Leadership, John Haley also noted last spring that the switch would help students interested in learning communities live near each other.

Bersani stated that it may take a few more weeks before administration and RAs can tell how students are taking the switch, but Campus Life and Leadership remains confident in the move.

“We’ve only heard positive things so far, but we’ll see what happens,” she said. “We hope students enjoy the change and the opportunities it can bring.”