Improve Student Housing and Gathering Spaces

When students live on campus, they want their residence hall to feel like home, and to be surrounded by people who feel like family.

residence hall

Living on campus is an important part of the college experience, especially for undergraduates. The friends they make in the residence halls often become their links to the broader campus — and, once they graduate, part of their Clark story.

To keep students engaged in campus life, and to ensure their success at Clark, we need to offer them a high-quality living experience on campus. We need to make “dorm life” so inviting and attractive that students want to stay at Clark — and perhaps even live in the residential halls — all four years.

Although updated periodically, Clark’s historic residence halls have not seen the extensive renovations that would turn them into spaces where students want to spend a lot of time hanging out with their besties.

In Clark housing, students aren’t looking for a place just to sleep and do their laundry; they want beautiful common spaces where they can connect with their friends, whether it’s to watch a movie, play a game, study together, or cook a meal.

In some cases, students who are affirming their identities seek to meet others who are, too. Higher education calls these “affinity groups” and the areas where affiliated students gather, “affinity spaces.” In these spaces, students can find their spot in the community and gain a sense of belonging. They can develop networks of support to tap into during college and after graduation.

A student in his Dana Hall room
common area in Wright Hall
Peer counselors volunteer on Move-in day

Multiple Projects to Create High-Quality Housing

As part of our institutional goals to offer students an enhanced campus experience, and to achieve greater diversity, equity, and inclusion, we aim to provide consistently high-quality housing, student spaces, and affinity spaces across campus.

To do so, we will invest significantly in impactful renovations: modernizing our existing, historic residence halls and developing new and improved living spaces and buildings. Our enhancements also will ensure that Clark’s residential spaces meet sustainability and accessibility standards.

Our overarching Campus Design Initiative, which aligns with our Strategic Framework and institutional goals, includes multiple student housing projects over the next coming years:

  • Quad Renovations: Substantially renovating our historic housing quads, increasing the quality and quantity of student study and social space.
  • Main Street Housing Improvements: Revamping Main Street retail shops and student housing to preserve the character of the existing neighborhood commercial corridor and, on upper floors, provide new suite and/or apartment-style housing for graduate and upper-level undergraduate students, and a single-level parking area covered by an upper-level courtyard that would connect with academic buildings to the north.
  • New Buildings on Park Avenue: Creating new mixed-use buildings at the corner of Maywood Street and Park Avenue; this could include student housing along with retail shops and university offices.
  • Repurposing Existing Buildings: Renovating existing university buildings at the corner of Maywood Street and Park Avenue to include more housing for graduate and upper-level undergraduate students, with a blend of walk-up and apartment units (this project is dependent on another initiative, which would move student health and wellness programs to the main campus).
  • Enhancements in Main Campus Halls: Improving Dana, Hughes, Johnson Sanford, and Dodd residence halls to provide higher-quality living experiences.