October 21, 1999

During the past four months, the Task Force on Residential Life has been busy conducting preliminary research, finalizing a student opinion survey, and drafting a statement of principles.

Research and Inquiry

As part of the initial research and inquiry process, the Task Force gathered qualitative information on "where Lawrence stands" in terms of housing, food services, and related matters. Comparative "bench marking" was pursued through site visits to Ripon, St. Norbert, and Grinnell Colleges. Additional campus visits are planned during the Fall Term.

The Task Force completed the development of a student opinion survey, which will be disseminated during the week of October 25. The Task Force encourages all Lawrence students to complete and return this survey, so as to have the broadest input possible.

Listening sessions are planned in the coming months, both on campus and across the country at regional alumni club events. Parents will also be providing opinions and ideas to the Task Force at a session to be scheduled during Family Weekend.

On an ongoing basis, the Task Force exchanges information and shares analysis with the Trustee Committee on Student Affairs at frequently scheduled meetings of that committee.

Statement of Principles

A subcommittee of the Task Force has developed a statement of principles that articulate the underlying beliefs of the college about why residential life is important to the fulfillment of Lawrence's educational mission. Task Force members felt it was important to have a "touchstone statement" that would serve as a frame of reference as the group wrestled with the issues and developed recommendations for the Trustees. Any conclusions or recommendations will be tested against these fundamental principles.

The statement of principles has now been finalized and approved by the Trustee Committee on Student Affairs (see Statement of Principles). The principles are meant to serve as aspirations for the college and are intended to express where Lawrence wants to be. Advancing these principles is a continuous process. The recommendations to be made in the Task Force's final report will represent an effort to accelerate that process.

Next Steps

As soon as the Task Force has finished the research phase of its work, it will turn to developing specific recommendations. Already tentative conclusions are taking shape. A draft report for the Board of Trustees will be prepared this winter, so that it can be submitted in advance of their May, 2000 meeting. After receiving input from the Board in May, the report will be finalized.

The Task Force will continue to report to the Lawrence community as its work goes forward. Representatives of the Task Force will next appear at an LUCC meeting at 4:45 p.m. on October 26.

Anyone who wishes to speak directly with Task Force leaders can do so by telephone, mail, or e-mail. Contact information is listed below. We would be pleased to hear from you.

Jeff Riester, Trustee Liaison to the Task Force


Nancy Truesdell (co-chair)
Office of the Dean of Students
Raymond House
Lawrence University
711 East Boldt Way
Appleton, WI 54911-5626
(920) 832-6596

Michael Orr (co-chair)
Art Department
Wriston Art Center
Lawrence University
711 East Boldt Way
Appleton, WI 54911-5626
(920) 832-6940

Jeffrey Riester, '70 (Trustee liaison)
P.O. Box 2728
Appleton, WI 54911-5626
(920) 830-2800