Sheehan goes co-ed after 50 years


Shannon Galliart

Left to right: Sophomore Zachary Stortz, first year Corbin Starr and Tyler Gliem sit in their dorm room in Sheehan Hall. This is the first year male students have been allowed to live in Sheehan in 50 years.

Hannah Hippensteel, Features Reporter

After 50 years of housing exclusively female residents, Sheehan Hall opened its doors to male and female students for the 2019-20 school year.

Jodi Monerson, the Hall Director of Sheehan, stepped into her position the first week of August which gave her time to acclimate to the building and meet her resident assistants.

Before she accepted this position, Monerson worked as the Hall Director and area coordinator of Prentiss-Lucas and as the area director of the Quad.

As an elementary education alumna of Winona State, Monerson lived and worked in Sheehan. Monerson worked as the second and third floor RA as a sophomore and 12th and 13th floor RA during her junior year at Winona State.

“The reason Sheehan went co-ed was to help create more living spaces for men because Prentiss, a former all-male dorm, is currently not open,” Monerson said.

As the integration of male residents into Sheehan Hall began, the atmosphere of the building seemed like it was bound for a major shift.

“The presence of women in co-ed dorms tends to tame down men’s behavior, so I don’t foresee a huge change in Sheehan. They’re all students; now we just happen to have male, and female students in the building,” Monerson said.

Sheehan Hall floors 7, 9 and 11 are co-ed with the 13th floor being all-male which was decided so it would create a stronger male presence throughout the building.

The other big shift Monerson spoke about was how Sheehan was previously very empowering for female residents. While she did not think that will change now, it will be interesting for the resident assistants to implement programs geared towards men as well.

Due to Monerson joining her position at the beginning of corporate training, she got to be fully involved in the training process of her RAs.

Debra Medin, a senior majoring in mass communications: creative digital media and minoring in marketing and advertising, has two years of experience as a Sheehan resident assistant. Medin’s 12th floor is all-female with an all-male floor above her.

Before her two years as an RA, Medin lived in the Quad, which helped her understand the dynamics of a co-ed building, so she had not seen any major shifts in her position. The biggest shift in Medin’s eyes is that Sheehan Hall is now at full occupancy.

“There’s a lot more movement and energy,” Medin said.

Although Medin did not know how to put the atmospheric shift in Sheehan to words, she felt that the transition has been a good one.

“My favorite part is the relationships built in Sheehan because of my co-RAs and residents make it feel like a home,” Medin said.

Karie Jo Nigon, a junior nursing major, is a three-time returner to Sheehan after being a sixth floor resident freshman year and an RA for sophomore and junior year, currently for the fifth floor.

“I was expecting the boys to be rowdy, but all the male residents have been super nice and willing to get involved,” Nigon said.

In the building, Nigon has noticed the formation of a strong community as residents travel between floors.

Nigon also enjoys that Sheehan has the smallest RA-to-resident ratio which allows her to make meaningful connections and watch them grow.

“Jodi Monerson has also been great to work with because she’s brought a new dynamic to the staff and has many ideas to challenge us personally and professionally. This will help us grow as a staff and as individuals,” Nigon said.