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October 21, 2014
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Residential Life addresses student apartment scarcity

Koenig_AM
Anthony Mekos
Linda Koenig, assistant director for housing services and communication, offers housing alternatives to students who did not select their first choice.

Housing selection for Fall 2014, which began Feb. 4, sparked frustrations among some rising sophomores and juniors, but the Office of Residential Life has offered some remedies for these concerns.

Garden Apartment selection began at 7 a.m. Feb. 18 and most of the four-person apartments were selected by groups of rising seniors, Linda Koenig, assistant director for housing services and communication, said. By the noon hour, about three were left open for rising juniors.

“We opened rising junior selection at noon, and by 12:02 p.m. we were closed because there were so few available,” she said.

Sophomore Kaitlyn Tynczuk, who is currently studying in London, said she had a particularly tough experience selecting a four-person Garden Apartment for the fall.

“If you think the WiFi is bad at IC, try accessing the Internet for housing across the pond — clearly it proved not to work since we were left without a place to live,” she said. “We were told that we could be put on a waiting list, otherwise we’d have to find our own home off campus — nearly impossible to do at this stage in the game and from another country — or be placed in a single in Terraces, which requires students to pay more for something they didn’t ask for.”

Tynczuk said in the end, her group had to split up into two-person Garden Apartments.

Koenig said there are still two-person Garden apartments available to rising juniors and seniors who agree to be placed on the summer waiting list for Circle and Garden Apartments. Residential Life will solicit these students about placement on the waiting list April 1–21.

“If those apartments aren’t filled by that population of students, then it will be available for rising sophomores to select, which I think is very exciting,” Koenig said.

Sophomore Esther Sumner said she has had issues since her first housing selection the summer before freshman year.

“Sophomore year was a pain in the butt,” she said. “We tried for a six-person Terrace Suite and we didn’t get it. We then applied for block housing and were all denied for that as well. We had to select separately, and my roommate and I ended up living in T13.”

This year, Sumner said, she tried to select a four-person Garden Apartment and was unable to get one because of the lack of four-person apartments available during her selection time.

“I got a two-person Garden Apartment, which I’m happy about, but it’s also frustrating hearing that Residential Life has had these problems in the past two years, and the school is still accepting more students than it can house,” she said.

Koenig said she believed housing selection was easy because of Residential Life’s openness to keep students updated on what was available.

“This is a result of being as transparent as possible and highlighting for students how many apartments we have and encouraging people to think about apartments where they would have a better chance of securing,” she said.

In particular, Koenig said the Circle Apartment selection, which occurred before the Garden Apartment selection, saw a notably low number of complications this year compared to past years because of the conversion of making four-student apartments hold five students.

After upperclassmen selected housing, Residential Life was able to re-offer the vacant apartments to any underclassmen students who were interested in living in a Circle Apartment, prioritizing those who had completed a higher number of semesters.

There were 25 groups of rising sophomores who were able to select five-person Circle Apartments after upperclassmen chose, Koenig said, and about 76 students currently living in Garden Apartments “squatted” to keep them for Fall 2014.

Koenig said rising juniors who are disappointed about not receiving a Garden Apartment have more options including living in Residential Learning Communities or opting for a single in Terraces or Clarke Hall. Students have until March 18 to submit an application for housing in a Residential Learning Community.

She said Residential Life plans on honoring as many requests as they can before rising sophomore housing selection begins, which takes place over the summer.

Koenig also said she recommends students should be more flexible with their requests on the waitlist.

“People who are really flexible with their choices are more likely to have a request honored,” she said. “It’s really hard to honor specific requests. Sometimes it’s really frustrating because right across the hall is that same type of room, but that’s not what they want.”

Rising sophomore housing selection begins on July 14, and Koenig said she is optimistic the next set of selections will go well.

“I don’t forsee a problem,” she said. “I think that we’ve made the arrangements to make sure that rising sophomore selection goes well.”