Housing Alumni News

December 21, 2011
Volume 1, Number 2

Happy Holidays

'Tis the season for celebrating, and here at UHDS we have reason to celebrate as you will learn when you read the "Housing at Western ...Then and Now" article below. There are several changes happening here at WIU, and 2012 will be full of more excitement! We are thankful for our staff--both past and present--who made/make UHDS a great place to work. Here's to a wonderful holiday season and a joyful, healthy new year!

John Biernbaum
Associate Vice-President for Student Services

Wetzel Hall Celebration

Opening in September of 1970, Wetzel Hall was used for nearly four decades as a home for tens of thousands of Western students. Wetzel will officially be decommissioned this July with a weekend-long celebration. Early plans for the celebration include an afternoon golf outing, a Saturday evening dinner, and the Sunday morning viewing of the implosion. All Wetzel, University Housing & Dining Services (UHDS), and WIU alumni are invited to attend any or all of these events. Details about the specific date, events, and registration will follow once plans are finalized. In the meantime, we are asking you to share your favorite memories of Wetzel Hall. Visit wiu.edu/wetzel to learn how you can share your story for our virtual scrapbook.

Staff Spotlight at GLACUHO

Western Illinois University can certainly bill its housing program as "award-winning." Over the past several years, a variety of awards have been brought back to the WIU-Macomb campus from housing conferences across the nation, and 2011 proved to be no different.

Joe Roseleib, University Housing and Dining Services (UHDS) assistant director of residential facilities, received the Outstanding Facilities Manager Award at the recent Great Lake Association of College and University Housing Officers (GLACUHO) annual conference. The award is presented to an individual whose job responsibilities are focused on housing facilities and who has demonstrated excellent job performance, creativity and innovation and connectedness to student needs.

In addition to Roselieb's award, assistant complex directors and College Student Personnel graduate students Aaron Hill of Rockford (IL) and Nicole Bisang of Athens (OH), received first place in the GLACUHO annual case study competition. Each team had one hour to prepare a resolution to a case, followed by 10 minutes to present and receive questions from a judging panel comprised of housing professionals. This year's topic focused on issues surrounding student conduct. Read more...

Western Hosts NACURH 2011 Annual Conference

alternate textPhoto Courtesy of Western Illinois University

NEACURH Region at Roll Call

In September 2009, a group of students had the ambitious idea of bidding for a national conference, NACURH 2011. NACURH is the largest student-run organization in the world, with a mission to promote living on campus as an integral part of the college experience. NACURH strives to provide resources to help member schools create the ultimate residence hall environment and experience. A total of 32 conference staff members and 21 months of planning later, 2,452 delegates from 279 schools from seven countries attended Camp NACURH 2011 at Western Illinois University this past May!

"The Annual Conference provides an opportunity for students to come together from across the nation to talk about relevant issues and allows for students to come together for a common goal: to improve the on-campus residential experience of students," said Tera Monroe ('96 MS '98), Director of Residence Life at WIU and NACURH 2011 Conference Advisor.

Camp NACURH offered a variety of activities throughout the weekend; 350 programs were selected for delegates to attend, focusing on Leadership and Service, Diversity and Social Justice, Program Planning, Personal Development, Current Issues and Roundtables, Student Affairs, Passive Programming, Advisor Programs, and NACURH U. NACURH members pride themselves in their commitment to philanthropy. Camp NACURH, which encourages member schools to raise money for the Arbor Day Foundation, raised $5,351. Additionally, delegates had the opportunity to participate in a conservation project at Lake Argyle State Park to enhance beautification and prevent erosion. Various gatherings and entertainment events occurred throughout the weekend for delegates to socialize and have a good time.

The conference centered around three simple words: Live, Learn, Lead! Delegates were also encouraged to discover their own three words...

"Make Bold Choices"
"Live Laugh Love"
"Commit to Courage"
"Make. A. Change."

One delegate, James Stephenson, expressed that "NACURH 2011 changed my life in so many amazing ways. I met amazing people who had life-changing stories that challenged me to see things differently." Next year's host site for NACURH 2012 is Boulder, Colorado.

NACURH 2011 by the Numbers

21 Months of Planning
32 Staff and 40 Volunteers
350 Programs
279 Schools
2,452 Delegates
7 Countries
1,062 Dog Bones
15,145 Emails
35,460 Text Messages


Housing at Western...Then and Now

alternate textPhoto Courtesy of WIU Photo Archives and Special Collections

South Quad 1963

Residence life at Western Illinois University has changed significantly over the years. Plans for the first women's dormitory began in May 1911. Those of you familiar with residence life know the terms "dormitory" or "dorm" are a big no-no. Dorm is typically referred to as "Dismal Ordinary Room of Mine." The term "residence hall" did not surface until the 1950s.

By 1913, Monroe Hall, established as a dormitory for women, was a three-story brick building built near the current physical plant.

Nearly 30 years later, in 1946, a Veteran's Village was established on the current Corbin/Olson site; the village housed a large number of male students.

By the late 1940s, Monroe Hall's name was changed to Grote Hall, in honor of Caroline Grote (the Dean of Women), and an addition was constructed to the building.

In 1954, Seal Hall was built as a residence hall for men on the site of the old football field.

Room rates have changed drastically in the past 60 years. In 1956, residents in Seal Hall were charged $5 a week for meals. Residents in Grote Hall were charged $15 a week for meals. In the summer of 1958, Hursh Hall opened to house 135 men. By the late 1950s, "the term 'dormitory' was being replaced by 'residence hall,' as campus housing was increasingly viewed as an extension of the learning experience, with social, recreational, and other benefits" (Hallwas, 1998).

Enrollment jumped in the 1960s, requiring more demand for on-campus housing at Western, and Corbin Hall was built in 1962. One year later, Lincoln and Washington Halls were built as the first high-rise residence halls on campus. Olson Hall was then built in 1965; and one year later, Bayliss and Henninger Halls were built, named after WIU Presidents Alfred E. Bayliss and John H. Henninger, respectively. September 1967 saw the opening of Higgins Hall, which was built on the seventh hole of a golf course. Tanner Hall opened the following year in honor of Governor John Tanner, who signed the bill that established WIU in 1899. In the Fall of 1969, Thompson Hall opened as a co-ed residence hall.

Life in the residence halls was very different in the 1960s from today. Quiet hours were observed from 7:30 pm to 7:00 am seven days a week, far from the current hours, which are observed from 10:00 pm to 11:00 am, Sunday through Thursday, and 1:00 am to 11:00 am, Friday and Saturday. Additionally, room expectations have changed over the years. Room expectations were discussed in the 1962 Bennett Hall Handbook:

Your room is expected to be kept in order at all times. It will be cleaned once a week by someone who does not have time to pick up carelessly thrown articles of clothing. Your bed should be made by 10:00 every morning. We will not go around checking on you all the time, but we do receive reports from custodial staff of our rooms that are not in good order. Note that your room will not be cleaned if it is not picked up.

By the 1970s, more halls were becoming co-ed. By September 1970, Wetzel Hall opened. One year later, Grote Hall, formerly known as Monroe Hall, closed. In 1975, an open cafeteria proposal was written by Inter-Hall Council to allow residents to eat in any cafeteria on campus; prior to that, students were restricted to dining in the hall in which they resided.

In the 1980s, Western enrollment declined, leading to the temporary closure of Tanner and Olson Halls. Tanner Hall reopened after one year as the first residence hall with single-occupancy rooms available to upperclassmen. Olson Hall reopened later to house female students and was additionally utilized as a conference center.

In the 1990s, the South Quad experienced major changes: Grote Hall was demolished in 1991. In 1993, the South Quad (Bennett, Hursh, Lincoln, and Washington) closed. By Fall 1995, after being renovated, Lincoln and Washington Halls reopened to offer single-occupancy rooms. By late 1998, Hursh Hall was torn down.

In 2004, Caroline Grote Hall opened on the site of the former Bennett Hall. By Fall 2009, Wetzel Hall was taken off-line (scheduled for demolition in Summer 2012). Fall 2009 also introduced the change from Tanner Hall as an upperclassmen hall to a First Year Experience hall.

Several aspects of Western's residence life have changed over the last few decades; however, UHDS continues to make strides in improving the lives of students living in the residence halls.

You can view all aspects of our housing updates and master plan as well as track our current progress at our Housing Facility Improvement and Projects page.

Alumni News to Share?

Email uhds-alumni@wiu.edu with your news, and you may be a featured alumnus in our Alumni Spotlight.

Trying to Reunite with Old Residence Hall Staff?

If you are trying to reunite with your old residence hall staff, simply
email uhds-alumni@wiu.edu. We will help you coordinate getting your
group together for a staff reunion; this could include helping set up a
tour of your old residence hall, coordinating hotels, meals, etc.

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