The top floor of Robinson Hall is a ghost town.
Following a decline in overall on-campus undergraduate enrollment, the occupancy for the residential hall saw a decline of more than 60 students, from 182 to 121. As a consequence, the entire top floor of the building has been left vacant this semester.
University officials point to Robinson’s two-room, two-person layout, which is reflected by a 7.5-percent room and board rate increase, for the decreased interest.
However, Campbell, Celani, Fabiano and Kesseler halls reflect a 15-percent rate increase, and each saw an increase in occupancy this year.
“Only a couple students signed up to live on that floor, and we had a couple Resident Assistants resign over the summer,” said Director of Residence Life Joan Schmidt. “It was convenient and made the most sense not to staff the top floor and move the students who registered there.”
The students who signed up to live on the top floor were reassigned to a different area of Robinson.
Due to the reduced occupancy, Barnes Hall residence hall director Luanne Goffnett has assumed responsibilities for Robinson Hall as well. To manage the addition of another community, the staff will oversee both buildings and both Hall Councils, which were merged to form one large group.
“I have been very strategic in setting up office hours so that I am visible to students in both buildings,” Goffnett said. “In addition, I walk the floors in both buildings at least once a week, I am present at all hall activities, and I start each day by physically visiting each desk to see how things are going.”
As for Robinson residents, students are experiencing a quieter environment this year compared to previous years.
“I love it here,” Battle Creek freshman Cameron Washington said. “There’s more space with only two people, and it’s nice to come home to a calm, quiet place at the end of the day.”
Other students are questioning whether living in Robinson is worth the extra 15 percent, especially with having to share certain aspects with Barnes Hall.
“It’s not really worth the money right now if we have to share hall council and our RHD and miss out on other benefits that some halls have, like a workout room and air conditioning,” said Kelsey Hickey, a Warren sophomore.
Residence Life is still discussing options they have should enrollment remain stagnant or continue on a downward trend.
“We are talking about a number of things, but everything is so preliminary,” Schmidt said. ”Nothing is set in stone.”
Even though enrollment was down this year, Schmidt said Robinson continues to attract students.
“While nothing is absolutely certain yet, our numbers at CMU & You Day were much better,” Schmidt said. “We are very hopeful for the future.”