On-campus housing lacks appropriate accommodations

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    About 300 freshmen and sophomores live in triple rooms, lounges and near-campus apartments, making on-campus housing over capacity for the second consecutive year, Craig Allen, director of Housing and Residence Life, said.

    Allen said lounges that house students are so similar to dorm rooms, many would not notice the difference. However, some lounges do not have sinks in the room, and a few have kitchens for student use.

    Four freshmen students in Colby Hall went potluck when asking for housing and said they felt like they hit the jackpot when they were assigned to live in a lounge.

    They said they were pleasantly surprised when they moved into a lounge room with four beds, a walk-in closet and a kitchen.

    Shea Harvey, a broadcast journalism major, and Mariah Moxley, a business major, said they loved the large space and the amount of storage they had in the room.

    “Most of our friends hang out in here,” Harvey said. “There are four of us and we each have different friends, so there’s usually a ton of people in here.”

    Strategic communications major Madison Donzis said she thought living in the lounge was awesome and that she liked the walk-in closet the best.

    Allen said triple rooms tended to present more of a problem for freshmen students.

    “Triple rooms we know are challenging for different reasons, because sometimes students do have to share some furniture,” he said. “We try to be very strategic about what rooms we pick.”

    Despite some different living arrangements, Allen said he thought students were still having a good time living on-campus.

    “There are a few students who have had issues, but overwhelmingly, student feedback is positive,” Allen said.

    Allen said space was not as tight as it was last year because he expected the larger number of incoming students and knew to plan upperclassmen housing accordingly.

    Wes Waggoner, director of freshman admission, said the freshman class numbered about 1,800 students for the second year in a row, but said he thought the university handled the challenge well, even with housing accommodations.

    “I don’t think it’s a tricky relationship at all,” Waggoner said of the relations between admissions and housing. “We work well together and they are brilliant in how they manage to give kids a great experience throughout their time on campus.”

    Allen said the university also established a new partnership with the GrandMarc, an apartment complex within walking distance on the corner of Greene Avenue and West Bowie Street. Allen said the university master-leased rooms for about 200 sophomores, adding a full-time hall director and six resident assistants.

    Although more space was available for first- and second-year students with the completed renovations of Moncrief and Milton Daniel residence halls, it was still necessary for the university to ask more upperclassmen to live off-campus, Allen said.

    In the spring, more than 200 juniors and seniors were on a waiting list for on-campus housing this semester, but Allen said that almost none were able to move on-campus.

    He said, however, that bringing more upperclassmen back to live on-campus was the goal for the future.

    “We like to have juniors and seniors because they also role model for the younger students – how to behave; how to go to college, so to speak,” Allen said. “And we definitely would like to have more juniors and seniors to do that.”

    For the future, Allen said that there were no definitive plans to build a new residence hall, but it will definitely be a topic of discussion this fall and spring.

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