Beth Bennett ’07 (Fair Oaks, California) is co-president of the Student Organization for the Protection of the Environment, a group determined to bringing waste composting to the Carleton dining halls. "College is one of the times when we have the ability to change our surroundings," Bennet says. "Why wouldn’t students take advantage of that?"
Improvements and additions to student residences: $10 million
- To strengthen Carleton’s residential community and allow a greater proportion of students to live on campus
- To construct a new residence hall and modernize existing structures
Carleton is a residential campus by design—most students live on campus in halls and houses, where residential life staff, including resident assistants, hall directors, and hall programming boards, work diligently to create a sense of community. Students spend more time in their living spaces than they do in any other building during their time at Carleton, so it is essential that these spaces feel like home.
First- and second-year students have a higher need for structures that encourage the development of friendships and social groups to help them grow interpersonally and develop their human potential, as well as to succeed academically. Juniors and seniors are more likely to thrive in apartment- or suite-style living. Carleton has identified three essential levels of residential space needed for all students to lead a balanced life:
- private space for study, sleep, and personal reflection;
- neighborhood space for small-group interaction, usually 6 to 20 students living near each other;
- village space for large-group interaction, including class projects, activities, and socializing.
Carleton’s current enrollment runs about 300 students higher than the number of beds the College can provide. The construction of new residence halls will allow Carleton to bring back to campus students who are currently taking part in the Northfield Option program, which allows juniors and seniors to petition to live off campus. While the College recognizes that some students benefit from an off-campus living situation, its goal is to reduce that number to fewer than 100 students, providing more students the full educational benefit of a residential campus.
New residential spaces also will allow Carleton to unpack its existing residence halls, many of which have three students living in rooms intended for two, and outdated shared lounges and kitchens. Modernizing current halls and houses includes equalizing the amenities offered in each and making the structures more sustainable through better windows, heating, and electronic wiring.