More competition for hall rooms expected in NTU Cluster D

By Freda Peh

Over the next two years, NTU’s four halls in Cluster D will be undergoing renovation, with three blocks per hall in operation instead of the usual four.

The blocks undergoing renovation were closed on 1 Jun.

With Cluster D halls operating at three-quarter the usual capacity — each hall can accommodate about 600 residents — many students will have to move from their existing rooms into another block, or in worse cases, another hall.

According to the Office of Housing and Auxiliary Services’ (HAS) website, students will go through a computerised ballot to determine if they can continue staying in their halls.

Some students will have priority to return to their hall the following year, if they are on the recommendation list submitted by the Junior Common Room Committee (JCRC) and the Senior Faculty in Residence.

There are about 110 slots on each recommendation list, the Nanyang Chronicle understands.

However, these slots are subject to allocation by JCRC members.

Lim Kai Tjoon, vice president of Hall 8’s JCRC, said that his hall has an extensive selection and interview process to determine the list.

“We assess residents based on current and future contributions, an interview and hall presence,” said Lim, 22, who defined hall presence as a resident’s involvement in and support for hall events.

A change in hall culture

Halls affected by the renovations might also have to tackle the issue of the dilution of hall culture, due to the decreased number of returning seniors.

The number of returning seniors had already taken a hit last year for older halls in NTU when the new guaranteed two-year stay regulation for freshmen was put in place.

Hall 4, for instance, faced a lack of manpower for hall activities and inter-hall competitions when it had to undergo renovations from July 2016. Renovations are projected to end this month.

Vincent Low, ex-president of Hall 4, believes that the handover of duties from seniors to juniors was crucial in helping his hall maintain its hall spirit.

“People who can fit into an organisation’s culture can thrive in it and become influential figures and take up important positions before handing over to the next batch of like-minded people,” said Mr Low, 24, who graduated from Nanyang Business School in June.

Clara Lai, a former resident in Hall 11, opted not to extend her stay due in part to the renovations and increased competition.

“I don’t know how hall culture will change, but having (less familiar faces around) was one of the reasons why I decided not to apply for hall in the next academic year,” said Lai, 22, who will miss the community, support system and late night suppers.

While the third-year School of Humanities student finds it sad that people are moving away, she says that the renovations are inevitable, especially since older halls need to step up in terms of security.

“Unfortunately (the renovations also) mean that residents from these halls will need to face greater competition applying back to their halls during this period.”