Special floors offered at NIU

By Amy Callaghan

Administrators at universities across the country are thinking of new ways to recuit top high school students, and one way is to give students the opportunity to live with others who have similar interests.

The University of Maryland has spent two years transforming a 55-year-old residence hall into a coed “living-learning center” for 100 honors students.

However, NIU beat them to the punch.

“NIU is way ahead of the University of Maryland,” said John Felver, associate director of Housing at NIU.

He said NIU has had floors in the residence halls for honors

students for 17 years.

Jeffrey Chown, director of the NIU honors program, said 100 honors students occupy two floors in Douglas Hall, designated as “honors floors.”

“It is not mandatory for all honors students to live on the floor, but a lot do choose to live on it,” Chown said.

He said there are 800 students in the honors program, but mainly freshmen live on the floors.

Felver said the residents of the honors floors are integrated so they are not isolated and are given the chance to interact with other students in the residence hall.

Although the floor is a quiet lifestyle, “it is not a place where everyone has a pocket protector or is glued to a computer,” said Joseph Gastiger, NIU honors program coordinator.

Students who live on the honors floors are chosen on a first- come, first-served basis, Gastiger said.

Another facility for honors students is the Honors House. Chown said students stop there between classes, for informal gatherings or meetings.

Felver said other special interest floors at NIU include business, computer science, engineering/technology, foreign languages, health professions, hearing impaired interest, music and pre-law/political science/ public service.