Mohammed Althabet, freshman international student, texts his friends while watching TV in the dorm lobby of OC Armstrong Hall. The lobby was converted from a speech classroom over the Christmas break to accommodate an influx of students needing housing. (Lupe Salas/Rambler Staff)

Mohammed Althabet, freshman international student, texts his friends while watching TV in the dorm lobby of OC Armstrong Hall. The lobby was converted from a speech classroom over the Christmas break to accommodate an influx of students needing housing. (Lupe Salas/Rambler Staff)

The Texas Wesleyan student body is continuing to increase due to the influx of international students transferring to campus.

In order to accommodate these new additions to Wesleyan, the second floor of OC Armstrong Hall has returned to its original use: housing students in dorm rooms. Sharon Manson, director of residence life, said there were no other options for housing than to refurbish OC Hall back into a dorm.

“Enough students needed housing,” Manson said. “And we ran out of places to put them.”

Manson explained the process it took to transform OC Hall back into its original form.  She said the student organizations had to move out. Additional beds had to be purchased, and Internet was added to the second floor for student’s access.

The rooms were cleaned and repaired, but some flooring still needs finishing.

She said all of the room walls, which were painted by the organizations who met there, had to go back to the color white.

Professor Joe Brown, dean of freshmen, said some offices like his office, security, and the mass communications department remain in OC Hall. Brown likes the change and enjoys having students close to where he works.

“Years ago the first floor of Stella Russell were faculty offices, and the students lived on the second and third floor. So this is not new,” Brown said. “And it was really kind of cool because again the students really could find faculty because they were where they lived.”

Brown said his vision of a perfect building on campus is a place where there are students living and faculty working under the same roof, so there will be more student-faculty interaction.

Before any change to OC Hall was made, all student organizations had to move all of their equipment out of OC Hall and into a smaller storage area they have to share at Polytechnic United Methodist Church.

“I know the student organizations that had rooms there were really upset and didn’t have a whole lot of notice to move out,” Brown said.

Ashlie Sivley, a junior and active member of the Gamma Phi Beta sorority whose office was in OC Hall, said the school is making it seem like organizations are no longer a priority. Sivley said moving day for the organizations was difficult and frustrating.

“It was very confusing. Basically, the way we were understanding it was that we had a date that we had to be out, but we didn’t necessarily have a promise that there would be a room ready for us,” Sivley said. “And it turns out there wasn’t.”

Sivley said when the members of Gamma Phi Beta moved their equipment to the room at Polytechnic the walls were still being painted, and there was furniture in the middle of the room.

Sivley said there was really no place to put their equipment while the walls were being painted. Gamma Phi Beta decided to put their equipment in Sivley’s garage for the time being.

“I feel like it’s making it seem like the organizations on campus aren’t important, which seems silly, because it’s been proven that students who are involved in some sort of campus activity are more likely to succeed and graduate,” she said. “So you’d think that student life in general would be one of the top priorities of the university.”

However, Gamma Phi Beta members said they acknowledge that as students come in, arrangements must be made for them.

Sivley said her sorority is grateful to John Veilleux, vice president for marketing. He helped by getting lockers for the organizations that will go in the new room.

“We do a lot for the school,” Sivley said. “We support the school a lot. We go to events. Students come to school for the classes, but they don’t stay because of the classes. They stay because of the friends they make.”

Brown said if more students are admitted to Texas Wesleyan and OC Hall is to be a full residence hall again, it is expected that offices that remain in OC Hall, like faculty and staff offices, must be moved somewhere else.

However, right now there is nowhere else on campus to move them, so there they will remain.