By Errol Castens/NEMS Daily Journal
OXFORD – With yet another record enrollment expected, the University of Mississippi opened a new residence complex this week, providing a total of 862 new beds, most of which will go to freshmen.
The Ridge consists of three residence halls – North, South and West – on Rebel Drive, built on the former site of Miller Hall.
“I assume they’re waiting on donors to come up with more descriptive names,” joked Lionel Maten, Ole Miss’ new director of student housing and residence life.
One of the hallmarks of The Ridge will be its housing of diverse “Living-Learning Communities” (LLCs) and Freshman Interest Groups (FIGs). In FASTrack LLC, cohorts of 20 freshmen take most of their classes together and benefit from peer and mentor support to make a smooth transition to college.
The STEM LLC fosters academic and social success for students interested in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, while the Business LLC offers a similar focus for those in finance, management, management information systems, marketing and economics.
The Well FIG offers students an intensive focus on healthy, substance-free living and adopts The Pantry for outreach. Global Perspectives LLC fosters intercultural awareness and exchange.
The Honors College LLC provides residential focus for “citizen scholars first by the life of the mind, committed to the public good, and driven to find solutions.” Provost Scholars LLC offers a similar opportunity for those in that rigorous academic program.
Maten said The Ridge will be something of a hybrid between traditional residence halls and the university’s recently built residential colleges, where residential cohorts often stay together throughout their college careers and experience faculty mentoring along with a host of academic, social and enrichment activities.
“During the first year we’re learning what we can do and what we can’t do and what appeals to the students,” Maten said. “Ultimately we’d like to grow this to where the students are not only connected in here but connected to the Oxford community.”
While landscaping and a few punchlist details were being finished early this week, some students were moving in as early as Tuesday. James Robinson of Covington, La., was one of them.
“When I visited Ole Miss in April, this (residence hall) wasn’t even done yet, but I heard about it,” he said. “Since I’m an Honors student, I get to live in it, so that’s awesome.”