Due to increased demand for on-campus housing from first years and seniors this year, Residential Life has allowed some juniors to live off campus and changed on-campus arrangements to ensure everyone has a place to live.
The process of releasing juniors to live off campus caused uncertainty for some students who did not find out where they would be living until near the end of the summer. The housing requirement usually keeps students on campus through their junior year.
“We released juniors, which we hadn’t done for three years prior,” said Lisa Chapa, Housing Assignment Coordinator.
The students were released based on a system similar to what is used to determine normal on-campus housing.
“We sent out an email this summer to all juniors living on campus, saying that if anyone was interested in living off campus to let us know. We did a lottery system, so they just got a lottery number, and we just went down the lottery list,” Chapa said.
The email went out in mid-July, and a little over 50 juniors accepted the offer to live off campus.
“I would say about 53 or 54 actually accepted the offer. We offered more, but some of them couldn’t go or decided not to go,” Chapa said.
As of Monday, there were six students still waiting on their final housing assignments.
Ainsley Escobar, junior human communication major, expressed understanding of the difficulties that ResLife faces when coordinating housing for a student body that fluctuates in size.
“I totally understand that it was something kind of unanticipated, so I’m not critical of the situation,” Escobar said, “but I can definitely see how some people were stressed out about having such a short amount of time to either accept or decline the option.”
For some juniors who will live off campus, like Escobar, the lottery was a welcome development.
“It’ll be nice to finally have a place where I can have some privacy and decompress,” Escobar said. “I think it would’ve been too soon to live off campus as a sophomore. I just feel like it’s happening at the right time.”
For some other juniors, the off-campus option was simply not feasible on such short notice.
“They emailed me about it, but that was a little bit frustrating because it’s so late in the year to be able to find a different place to live,” said Paige Perez, junior communication major.
Students had five days to accept or decline the offer before the next number was selected. Perez was notified in early August that a space had become available in Lightner.
“I was pleased that it was one of the nicer dorms and they did keep in contact and remind us that they were going to be working on it,” Perez said.
Perez was disappointed to find that the dorm she was placed in is the fact that it cost $200 more than she had expected to pay.
“I do feel that they could have been more upfront with the possibility of extra costs or what we could expect, instead of letting us go for the summer without giving us very much information,” Perez said. “It is something I’d like to factor into housing decisions, and they didn’t really give us the opportunity to do that.”
ResLife has also taken some measures to create more space for students on campus.
“We actually turned one of our Calvert lounges into a quad for four students,” Chapa said.
James H. Calvert Hall was renovated with this option in mind, so that a wall could be added to turn the lounge into two conventional dorms. Due to time constraints the space was re-purposed without constructing a wall.
The modification to Calvert is not the only way that ResLife created more space.
“We also have seventeen rooms that are triples in the first year area,” Chapa said.
In addition to the strain caused by the abnormally large first-year class, more seniors are also living on campus this year.
“With the renovation of North we have more seniors who want to live on campus than usual,” Chapa said, “and we didn’t have as many cancellations as we normally do.”