Oregon State UniversitySpecial Collections & Archives Research Center

University Housing and Dining Services Records, 1900-2013

Historical Note:

University Housing and Dining Services oversees the facilities, services, and programs to provide housing and dining services for residential students and other OSU community members. It was formed in 1973 by the merger of the Housing Department and the Residence Programs Office.

Student housing on campus first became available with the opening of Alpha Hall for women in 1889. Two years later, a second dormitory, Cauthorn Hall, was built to provide housing for both sexes. In total, the two dormitories accomodated 120 men and 50 women. Early administration of campus housing was managed by individual faculty members rather than a single centralized office. These faculty included John Horner, Margaret Snell, and Mark Dow McCallister. Admission into campus housing for men required membership in the dormitory's "club", which involved a separate fee as well as proof of the avoidance of tobacco and "profane language." For women, application for dormitory residence was coordinated through the Registrar's Office.

In 1922, in a move to centralize administration of the residence halls, the university created the Department of Dormitories. In addition to room reservation and the general management of student housing, the department was responsible for food service on campus both in the dorms and the Memorial Union. The new department worked closely with the Offices of the Dean of Women and Men in managing social activities and decorum in the dormitories. The role of the Deans in regulating student life in campus housing also extended to student governance through periodic and regular meetings with residence hall councils and presidents. Another new player in the housing mix to emerge in this period was the Student Housing Committee, which was entrusted with the task of reviewing, revising, and approving "suitable" housing for students outside the grounds of the university.

The onset of World War II posed serious challenges to the university with regard to an increased demand for housing. In accomodating an influx of students engaged in specialized military training on campus, the university moved female students from Waldo and Snell (now Ballard Extension) Halls off campus to fraternity houses closed during the war and temporary housing near downtown Corvallis. This transfer also spurred the development of several cooperative houses for women under the management of Co-Resident Women Inc. Record student enrollments after the war, owing largely to veterans returning to attend college on the GI bill, further exacerbated the effects of the housing shortage. OSU responded to this crisis by bringing to campus a number of pre-fabricated buildings erected at military bases and arranged for temporary student housing to be offered at Camp Adair, 10 miles north of Corvallis.

The steady growth in student enrollment after the war prompted the university to construct nine new residence halls during a two decade period (1947-1967). Changing cultural expectations of university life in this era also compelled the university to re-examine some of it's longstanding housing policies. This re-evaluation resulted in the introduction of coeducational housing in 1967 and the elimination three years later of rules requiring sophomores and juniors to reside in campus housing, cooperatives, or fraternities.

Administratively, the management of campus housing was re-organized by the university in 1963. Functions overseen by the Director of Dormitories were divided up among two new offices: the Department of Housing and the Residence Programs Office. In 1973, these two new departments were consolidated under the management of a single office, the Department of University Housing and Dining Services.

Campus Buildings Constructed for Use as Residence Halls and Dormitories

1889 Alpha Hall
1892 Cauthorn Hall (now Fairbanks Hall)
1907 Waldo Hall
1928 Weatherford Hall
1947 Sackett Hall
1957 Cauthorn Hall
1957 Poling Hall
1958 Snell Hall
1959 Hawley Hall
1960 West Hall
1961 Buxton Hall
1962 McNary Hall
1963 Callahan Hall
1966 Finley Hall
1972 Bloss Hall
2002 Halsell Hall

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