So far, so good: Men join the mix

Wilson has experienced a number of changes this year and perhaps the most notable that men can now live on campus. The college has become a fully co-educational institution after 144 years as an institution for women. This is not the first time that Wilson has welcomed men into its classrooms. In 1982, the Adult Degree Program (ADP) began, and men who were at least 24 years of age could commute to class. Male children of staff have also been allowed to attend as commuters before their 24th birthday.

Beginning in fall 2013, men of traditional college age could attend as commuters. Starting this semester, however, traditional-aged male students and those in the ADP are welcome to live on campus.

In addition to male habitation, new men’s sports teams will compete this year. Offering sports drew many men to the school, such as transfer student and junior Rahim Bunch ’16, who came for basketball.

“It’s a new program, so it’s like making history,” said Bunch.

Coeds hanging out. Left to right: Nicole Zulegar, Cody Dunlap and Gia Hickey. Photo by Robin Kane
Coeds hanging out. Left to right: Nicole Zulegar, Cody Dunlap and Gia Hickey.
Photo by Robin Kane

When the idea of going co-ed was first considered, the college approached the decision with a range of opinions, from wanting it wholeheartedly to thinking it would mean the end of Wilson.

Students like Emily Stanton ‘15, said “I didn’t really care. It is what it is.”

Laura Wilson ‘15, a self-proclaimed “super senior,” said, “People have a lot of emotion regarding it. People on campus, off campus, alums, all that. It’s hard to be rational when there is a lot of emotion involved.”

Now that the transformation is complete, the community must adjust.

Emotions have begun to calm down and students feel comfortable.

Cheyenne Cook ‘17 said, “I’ve always felt like this is the right place to be, regardless of who attends this college.”

Although some worried about the transition it is going smoothly. Male students mix into academic and everyday life.

Shelby Erb ’15 said “I like that we’ve integrated men into our traditions, because it makes them that much more interesting.”

Kiefer Jefferson-Grimes ‘18 said, “Certain girls haven’t gotten adjusted to it yet, but eventually they probably will.”

Lindsey Sutton ’16 said the change has happened like it would at the beginning of any school year.

“They’re dealing with it just like freshman girls would be dealing with it. They’re just trying to get a routine, adjust, make a schedule, learn to live on their own,” Sutton said.

Many hold similar opinions. Erb, the RA on the men’s floor said, “Obviously, they’re different genders, so there are different struggles. But as far as respect of the hall and that sort of thing, it’s all about the same.”

The change to co-ed has proven to be a major change that requires time, but so far it has gone well. The Wilson women have not lost their spirit, and the Wilson men display a similar spirit of their own.

Cook says, “I feel like men have always been here, but now there’s just a lot more. But I really don’t feel like there’s a big difference because I’m here to do work and study, so I really don’t mind having them here cause they’re just trying to do the same thing.”

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