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Big incoming class means housing short 30 beds

By Alyce Eaton

The Office of Admission can proudly boast they received over 450 deposits for the incoming class of 2015. But for Student Affairs, this means spending the summer scrambling to house students.
Even though Residence Life set aside enough beds in double rooms for 450 rising first years, they still need to place 95 first years and they only have 65 beds. Residence life will try several strategies to fix the situation, according to Director of Residence Life Andrea Conner.
“[We’re] about 30 beds short. What we’re doing is starting with offering the doubles and singles that are available, and then a step that will happen relatively soon is asking people who took doubles who are over their second year if they are regretting that decision and would prefer to have singles,” Connor said. “Another thing that we’ll do starting early summer is probably start asking rising second years who have good numbers if they would like singles.”
Last week, Laura Gogg, Technical Assistant for Student Affairs sent an email releasing all 32 students who were on the waitlist to live off-campus. Kelsey Scott ’13 applied for off-campus housing and was initially placed on the waitlist.

“I had already signed the lease in October, I know they tell you not to sign the lease but you can’t get a house unless you sign the lease in the fall,” Scott said. “I was really stressed out, because I definitely couldn’t afford to do two rents, so I was really happy when [Gogg] sent out the email. It was a huge relief.”

Conner believes that Residence Life would consider giving even more students this permission if it means freeing up rooms on campus.

“If there is someone still interested in living off-campus who missed the deadline, didn’t get on the waitlist [or] didn’t even try to get on the waitlist, they should contact us,” she said.
More beds will continue to open up as students transfer, decide to take personal leaves, or are placed on academic suspension or dismissal.

“[We will] address those openings by offering them to someone on the waitlist literally one by one by one,” Conner said. “As something comes up, we’ll look at our list… We’ll be doing that individually. Hopefully this process will allow us to meet everybody’s need.”

If not enough people leave next semester, there are a few worst-case scenarios. These include converting lounges into student rooms and overcrowding first year doubles until it is possible to even the numbers out. As a last resort, upperclassmen with large rooms may be asked, or eventually forced, to move. Conner isn’t worried: one year during her time at Bard College, Student Affairs used pre-fabricated trailers to house students.

“We’re certainly going to be doing some asking about people who may choose to move and then in July or August, [if] we haven’t made enough progress, it becomes something different than asking–it becomes an administrative move,” Conner said. “As you might imagine, that is just not of interest to us … it would be a lose-lose situation.”

At this point in time, Residence Life is just trying to keep track of how many students are coming to Grinnell next year and their housing preferences.
“Laura Gogg … has her finger on the pulse. The point of this is that we have good track of everyone,” Conner said. “Folks from all kinds of constituencies could be hearing from us in the next few weeks and months, and I really urge people to reply as quickly as possible as we try to make room for everybody.”

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  • K

    KMay 13, 2011 at 6:49 am

    What, sophomore’s aren’t allowed to get singles anymore?

    Anyway, this is completely the fault of the college. When I was a freshman and a sophomore most seniors lived in college-owned, off-campus houses. Then they built East Campus (without enough singles, by the way) and took away almost all of the houses except a handful “theme” houses. So seniors were forced to live on campus, making singles more scarce for juniors, and completely screwing the underclassmen. Way to go, Grinnell!