By Leah Budde
President Rock Jones posed three questions to members of the Small Living Unit (SLU) community during a forum on Oct. 21st, starting a conversation about the collective future of the residences.
Several of the themed houses have been deemed physically and economically beyond repair. Ohio Wesleyan Residential Life and administration are beginning to share their plans for the future of the residences, and gather student opinions about those propositions.
“What do we value most about the SLU community?” Jones asked the forum attendees, including SLU house members and other interested students.
Jones also inquired about what the group desired in terms of physical facilities, and where on campus SLU members would most like to be relocated in the event that their houses are torn down.
Students were forward—and unified—with their opinions, stating that what they most value about being SLU members is living with like-minded people who have common passions, having a sense of privacy and independence from the rest of the campus and being able to support each other’s house projects – a requirement of each SLU once per year.
Many of the historical houses hold a large amount of sentimental value for their respective members. But, Jones explained that the cost of repairing the House of Peace and Justice, for example, would be comparable to building two entirely new SLUs.
Despite house members’ feelings of attachment, starting fresh would be “short term loss for long term gain,” according to senior Citizens of the World house member Ben Danielson.
Now, Jones said the university’s tentative plan is to build a “SLU village” of duplex-style residences on the lawn beside the House of Black Culture.
Sufficient funds have not yet been raised for the project, but Jones said that the university would like to begin demolition of two SLUs by the fall semester of 2016.
The main concern of younger SLU members is what will happen to them in the transition period before new houses are built.
According to sophomore Emma Nuiry, a member of the House of Peace and Justic, “what we heard was they would basically be putting us in whatever open rooms they have on campus, which is really annoying because they are essentially revoking our SLU status. But then again I understand…the administration is going to do whatever is the most economically savvy choice.”