It Takes a First-Year Village: The Student Perspective

Article Written By: Kylie Miller

Goucher College is currently in the process of completing several extensive construction plans. One of the larger projects is The First-Year Village. Goucher’s Community Matters Blog defines this as “a ‘village’ for 450 first-year students to live, work, and socialize… The village is designed for interaction, with prominent communal areas for students to come together to cook, share, and learn. The new village will help recruit students to Goucher, as well as prepare them for success when they arrive on campus.”

Last fall, the first of three new buildings that will become The First-Year Village opened. Pagliaro Selz Hall (commonly referred to as P Selz) houses over 200 freshman and is arguably the nicest residence hall to live in on campus. The concept behind the First-Year Village is an interesting one, creating a space on campus almost exclusively for freshman students. This has prompted various responses from Goucher students with several different perspectives.

Juliana Block is one of the few current freshmen who live in Stimson-Winslow. While many freshmen who don’t live in P Selz explain feeling left out, Juliana does not. “I like Winslow a lot. I like how small it is and how much we’ve gotten to know each other” she says. “I think [P Selz] is too fancy. I believe that they shouldn’t be separating freshman this much. I think they should be more integrated with the school.”

On the contrary, current P Selz resident, Wynn Myint, is in favor of the idea. “I think it’s important that first-years are put into a space where they can learn how to interact with each other and learn the responsibilities of life away from home,” he says. Wynn also shares that he enjoys living in P Selz, “It’s great, but it’s sad because I know it’s only going to get worse after this.”

Current freshman living in P Selz generally seem happy with the building. They are only the second set of freshman to live in the building, so every dorm room is in relatively good condition. Many of them share a concern, like Wynn, that their living conditions will be worse next year and the rest of their time at Goucher since P Selz is only for freshman. Many of Goucher’s other residence halls are known to be unfavorable to live in due to an absence of air conditioning, deteriorating features, impractical layouts, and the like.

Since P Selz only opened last fall, Goucher’s upperclassmen have not had the opportunity to live in this building, with the exception of Resident Assistants.

Dalen Thompson, a junior at Goucher, finds this to be unfair. “I think upperclassmen should get the chance to live in [P Selz] and experience it to have a nice room,” he says. It seems that many upperclassmen agree with this, wishing that P Selz and the First-Year Village would be available for any Goucher student to live in.

The common question that seems to be surrounding the First-Year Village is whether it is practical or not. There is mixed feedback about the separation of freshmen, which may become even more relevant once the entire First-Year Village is built. Further, there is an obvious bitterness towards freshman being the only students allowed to enjoy the newest and nicest resident halls on campus.

Perhaps it should be taken into consideration that the concept behind the First-Year Village is not well supported by Goucher students.

Photograph is from the Community Matters @Goucher College Blog 


  1. Could someone share the reasoning for using “freshman” as opposed to “first year” or “first year student”?

  2. My daughter, a current freshman who lives in Stimson-Winslow over a month now came from Texas. One of the reasons she wanted to escape Texas is the heat. When I read her facebook, “When it gets so hot you forget it’s not Texas….IT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE FALL” or her comment under this article, “As long as there’s AC….”, I CAN’T believe we are still talking about a student’s basic living need NOT being met here. When she came back from visiting another freshman in P Selz who even complained about being too cold, she said “This is SO unfair. They literally live in a hotel with a nice hotel lobby.”

    Yes, the luxury First-Year Village picture helped recruiting my daughter here. But when we got here, we realized it has nothing to do with her. She along with other half unfortunate freshman will NOT have a chance to enjoy it this school year and rest of the time in Goucher. The best we can hope that she will get in a place with A/C.

    While First-Year Village may sound an effective recruiting tool for prospective students, it’s unfortunately not going to help retaining current students which we understand has been also on your president’s mind. In fact, creating such a contrast on campus living NOT based on FAIRNESS could be problematic down the road.

    So here is a suggestion –
    Current freshman take turn to live in P Selz by switching after winter break for the current school year. Then upperclass will take turn to live in the new building afterwards. And First-Year Village better be renamed.

    Thanks for providing this opportunity to let us speak up. We hope our voice along with 3/4 of Goucher studnets will be heard by the school.

Leave a Reply