Res. Life offers solution to recent housing problems

Alessandro Roco

The problem: a substantially high junior class enrollment and a limited amount of housing available on campus.

The proposed solution: offer rising sophomores incentives for living on South campus or off- campus.

For several weeks, the office of Residence Life faced a major problem when dealing with junior housing assignments. In past years, most juniors were able to live in the apartment buildings on West campus, while only a few were left to live on either Main campus, or off- campus.

However, due to a large rising junior class, many juniors now find themselves on Main campus, creating a domino effect of problems since Main campus is mostly reserved for sophomores.

“Typically the number of juniors eligible to participate in the lottery [for an apartment] is under 1500,” Marie Schauder of Res. Life said. “This year, because the class remains exceptionally large, the number of students eligible to participate exceeded 1500,” thus creating problems for Res. Life.

To alleviate the problems with the Main campus living situation, Res. Life created a two-phase lottery system for rising sophomores. Phase One of the lottery system involves three incentive-based packages for rising sophomores.

The first option for rising sophomores is to be housed in a triple in Good Counsel Hall. If a particular triplet agrees to live together in Good Counsel, each resident would have one-third of the housing price given back as credit to be used for other University fees. Also, residents would be guaranteed their choice in the junior apartment complex next spring.

“We knew from past focus groups and past lotteries that a number of rising sophomores would agree to triple in exchange for a break on the housing cost (a third off the room rate) and the guarantee of an apartment for their junior year,” Schauder said.

Because of the limited availability of housing options for rising sophomores, Good Counsel, predominantly known for its mixture of freshmen and sophomores, will most likely become a sophomore-only residence hall.

“Given the number of rising sophomores we need to house, I do not anticipate being able to use some of the building for incoming freshmen, as we have done in the past,” Schauder said.

The second option is for rising sophomores to live in one of the 75 rooms in Pennswood Hall at Harcum College. The hall would be staffed by the University, and students who opt for Pennswood Hall would receive several incentives, including $500 credit to each student account per semester for the year, 500 points on each student’s Wildcard per semester for the year, a free parking permit and a guaranteed apartment and choice of apartment building for their junior year.

The third option is open to female students only, whereby the 70 female students would be housed in Mayfield Hall in Rosemont College in a combination of single and double rooms.

“A great amount of time and work went into the development of the Phase One lottery process.  Once developed, the plan was presented to the administration and approved for implementation,” Schauder said. “We did consider looking at offering the rising junior class alternative housing options, but our ability to offer a variety of incentives was limited due to this being the last year of housing eligibility for most.”

Though the packages offer many incentives, many freshmen would still prefer to test their luck in the lottery, in the hopes that they will be able to live on Main campus.

“My main goal for sophomore year housing is living in the Quad,” Katie Hille, a freshman comprehensive science major, said. “As for rooming assignments junior year, I’m just really hoping that one out of the four us who are going to live together will get a high enough lottery number so we get an apartment.”

Vincent Fea, a freshman finance major, however, will try to opt for the triple in Good Counsel because of the incentive it offers.

“I like the Good Counsel deal because, unlike the other two options, you still get to live on campus and get the guaranteed junior apartments,” he said. “To me, the most important part of housing is just living around your friends. Where you actually live with them sophomore year isn’t the biggest deal as long as you get the apartment.”

Though the off- campus options required much planning on the University’s part, the transactions ran relatively smoothly. Representatives of Res. Life were grateful that both colleges were able to accommodate to the University so easily.

Both colleges set a specific rate for each room and Res. Life said that it would simply pass the price tag along to the students who accept the package.

The Office of Admissions usually tries to admit approximately the same number of applicants every year, however, the problem arises when “more students accept the Admission Office’s offer of admission than is anticipated,” Schauder said.

When this happens, housing problems, such as the one Res. Life faces this year, occur.

Alleviating the current situation, however, could be a problem for Res. Life due to Radnor township’s several zoning restrictions. Schauder said that the current housing situation is “under discussion and is on the list of priorities for the University, along with the new law and nursing schools.”