‘Progressive Independence’

New campus housing provides Ohio Wesleyan’s upperclassmen with more options

Lizzy Petrie ’12 and her father, Jeff Petrie ’83, stand on the steps of 35 Williams Drive. Lizzy is living in the newly renovated building—her father’s former fraternity house! (Photo courtesy of Lizzy Petrie ’12)

With so many legacy students on campus, it’s not unheard of for current Ohio Wesleyan University students to live in the same buildings as their parents, siblings, or even grandparents.

But how often can a female student say that she lives in her dad’s former fraternity house?

Lizzy Petrie ’12, an English major from St. Louis, Missouri, can. She is one of the OWU upperclassmen living in the newly renovated and refurbished Williams Drive houses that opened this fall.

Petrie’s father, Jeff Petrie ’83, lived in 35 Williams Drive when it housed the Phi Gamma Delta (FIJI) house.

“I wanted to live in the new upperclassmen housing,” Lizzy Petrie says, adding that she hopes to spend her senior year in the house, too. Petrie says being in her dad’s old fraternity house is “really kind of bizarre, but I like living here a lot.”

Petrie’s new home is one of three Williams Drive buildings renovated over the summer and made available for upperclassmen this fall. New housing opportunities also exist at 4 Williams Drive and 23 Williams Drive.

Wendy Piper, OWU’s assistant dean of Student Affairs and director of Residential Life, says the new housing options are part of Residential Life’s goal to encourage “progressive independence” among older students.

“The idea behind progressive independence is that as students move from their freshman to their senior year at OWU, they can have something to look forward to in terms of privacy and supervision in their community,” Piper says. “The renovated houses on Williams Drive are unique in their design configuration, and they offer more single-room options than the residence halls.”

Larger rooms, exclusive key-card access, air-conditioning, and greater independence aren’t the only perks that come with OWU’s new housing options. Students say they also like living around the fraternities and being surrounded by other upperclassmen.

“I like the environment on the ‘hill,’ ” says Kailey Miller ’11, a journalism major from Lake Worth, Florida. “I feel like I know everyone on the hill as opposed to being in the other dorms around underclassmen.”

The Williams Drive houses also are a good fit for students ready for an alternative to dorm life, says Tim Goodman ’11, an economics major from Bennington, Vermont.

“Being away from the dorms is actually really nice,” Goodman says. “You don’t feel like you’re on campus, and being on the hill keeps you just close enough to campus and Greek life.”

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