Res Life Ditches Lottery System
Other Major Housing Changes to Come
The 2016-17 school year will be bringing numerous changes to the housing situation on campus: students from any year can live in a single room dorm, graduate level students will be allowed to live on campus, students will be able to “buy out” extra space in their apartments, transfer students won’t be wait-listed for housing, and discounted summer housing are just a few of the changes that are to come.
These changes will not just affect incoming freshman, they will also affect current freshmen, sophomores, juniors, transfer and graduate students at St. Scholastica. Mickey Fitch, Director of Residential Life, announced these changes to current residents via email on Friday, Feb. 19, 2016. These housing changes are in response to student ideas, feedback, and thoughts as well as trying to house as many people on campus as possible according to Fitch.
According to Fitch, the housing situation for freshmen, sophomores, and juniors looks very good and they are not expecting there to be any housing shortages for the coming school year. Despite this, Fitch is still encouraging students to get their contracts in by March 28 as the school has approximately 1000 spots to fill. The removal of the Groves apartments last summer slightly reduced the amount of on-campus housing available.
“Our number of spaces did drop, but our number of students going to CSS and living on campus dropped quite a bit too,” Fitch said in an email interview.
In past years, the college has used a lottery type system to determine student housing placement, but the term “lottery” is no longer in use. This year, students will not be given the opportunity to pick the specific apartment that they would like to live in. Instead, students will state their apartment preference, the building they would like to live in and if they would prefer two or four bedrooms, and Residential Life will make placements as they see fit.
One of the first changes made and maybe the most significant is that sophomores, juniors, seniors, and graduate students attending The College of St. Scholastica will be allowed to live in a single dorm room in Somers Hall or an entire single bedroom in one of the suites in Somers. This change was made because a number of students prefer to live alone for various reasons. This change is significant to the college because Somers Hall and the suites will no longer be completely “dry;” there will now be “damp” areas for drinking for those students who choose to live in Somers who are of drinking age.
On-Campus Grad Students
Another significant change that Residential Life is making to housing is that students who are studying at the graduate level will now be allowed to live on campus if they so choose. This is due to St. Scholastica’s ever growing graduation programs. When asked about the limited space available on campus and allowing graduate students to live on campus, Fitch stated, “I am not worried about anything right now, as we have several months to see what the trends are going to look like for fall. My goal is to have a robust, fun, and energetic living environment for students!”
Along with these changes, men who are now allowed to live in the Somers suites if they so choose.
While freshmen are still allowed to live with only other freshmen, other students are allowed to mix and mingle as they please.
“We believe there are great advantages to having students live and learn together,” the resident-wide email said.
While students are allowed to pick whomever they would like to live with, Fitch offers this piece of advice for students: “The biggest thing is to pick someone who you know you will live well together with. That is not necessarily someone who you spend a lot of time with or go to class with. Ask about personal habits, values, routines, etc.”
Any roommate grouping that is not completely filled, will be filled as needed by Residential Life.
Of course, there is a change to that policy as well with the new school year. Students will now be able to “buy out” any extra space in their apartment/dorm/suite next year or consolidate with other students, after the first two weeks of the semester, to fill the space. This gives students the ability to essentially “buy” the space in their dorm/suite/apartment that would have otherwise been filled by another student, allowing them to live alone or have the bedroom to themselves.
Another change was made regarding which students can live in which of the apartment buildings. Starting next year, the brick apartments—Maple, Willow, Pine, Birch, and Cedar—will no longer be restricted to sophomores. Additionally, Scanlon and Kerst will no longer be priority to juniors and seniors. This allows sophomores, juniors, seniors, and graduate students to live in any of the apartment buildings that fits their style and financial needs.
Regarding transfer students, the college is no longer going to wait-list transfer students and place them in housing at the end of the summer if there are still spots available. As long as there is space when transfer students enroll, they will be allowed on-campus housing.
The final changes are in regard to summer housing, which has now expanded to include Cedar Hall as well as the brick apartments, due to the bricks being almost completely full last summer. Along with this, summer housing on campus will now be discounted for students who are taking a class, doing an academic credit internship, or conducting research with a professor. According to Fitch, the discounted rate has not yet been determined, “but we will be looking at doing a 15% discount for students who are enrolled in a higher education course, conducting research with CSS faculty/staff, or doing a credit bearing academic internship,” she stated in an email interview. This is not limited to simply academic engagement at St. Scholastica either, this includes if a student is enrolled in a course at another institution or online. Once the summer contract is live, all students have to do is to show proof of their academic work and they will be given discounted housing.
Finally, any student who has tried to do laundry on campus, especially in the dorms, knows how much of a struggle it is. Especially when more often than not, there is an “Out of Order” sign on one of the washers or dryers. Residential Life will be replacing the washers and dryers on campus. They will also be offering rental lofts, microchill fridges, futons and safes for storing valuables to students across campus.
Housing contracts for returning students opened up on Monday, Feb. 22 and have an initial deadline of March 28. Of course, roommate matching on each contract needs to be mutual and all roommates need to request each other in order for the contract to be fulfilled. If you opt out of selecting roommates, you can still submit a ticket with only yourself on it and Residential Life will find a spot for you.