Changes in the Ithaca College First Year Residential Experience Program have altered the eligibility and application process for certain student housing options next year.
The changes in housing selection and off-campus applications stem from IC 20/20, Ithaca College’s strategic 10-year plan. Under IC 20/20, all freshmen must live in FYRE housing, which will require more housing for FYRE use. As a result, current students will face different requirements to apply for suites, apartments, singles, doubles and triple rooms, and block housing will no longer be an option.The changes will go into effect next year.
Because of the change, the housing selection process for older students is different, Bonnie Solt Prunty, director of residential life and judicial affairs and assistant dean of FYRE, said.Sophomores will now select housing in July. Before the change, they selected housing during the spring semester. Once the spring semester ends, the college will know how many students are not returning in the fall and therefore have a more complete list of available rooms for sophomores to select from.
“If we kept it as it is today, when we got to late spring there would not be enough spaces for rising sophomores and juniors potentially to select housing at that time,” Prunty said.
Priority for single rooms, suites and on-campus apartments will be given to juniors and seniors.
Only rising juniors and seniors will be able to apply for housing in the Circle Apartments, Garden Apartments and in suites in Terraces. Sophomores can apply for an apartment if they make up less than 50 percent of the group size, according to the 2013 housing proposal. Before the change, all sophomores were permitted to apply for apartments and suites in all sophomore application groups or mixed groups.
If all the suites and apartments are not filled by late spring, an additional selection process will take place that sophomores can participate in.
Sophomores will be given priority for double and triple rooms, mainly in the Terraces, Prunty said. Rooms can be squatted, but block housing will no longer be an option under this new system.
“Primarily, [the elimination of block housing] has to do with the fact that we are proposing different time frames for sophomore housing selection, and our computer technology does not have the ability for us to designate blocks online,” Prunty said.
In the past, block housing was set up in person during the semester, but now, selection will take place online, and the online system cannot accommodate block housing.
Other major changes in housing policies include the elimination of senior off-campus housing intention forms. Residential Life has also eliminated parental approval forms for off-campus approvals. The deadline for this application has shifted from the spring semester to the fall.
Dominick Recckio, freshman SGA senator, said he was not pleased with the changes to sophomore housing selection.
“They’re hitting sophomores a little hard,” Recckio said. “I’ve heard multiple students who are quite upset about the fact that there will be no block housing and that there will be no easy way for sophomores to live in the Gardens or the Circle Apartments.”
He said he emailed Prunty to set up a meeting within the next week to discuss how the changes will impact rising sophomores.
“If it doesn’t work out as to where sophomores have a good chance to live with their friends, then I will hopefully get a bill started through SGA to give sophomores a chance to live in apartments or reinstate block housing,” Recckio said.
The changes in FYRE will also impact all current Residential Living Communities for incoming freshmen. As of now, any student at the college can apply to participate in RLCs. With the proposed changes, freshmen will no longer be eligible for the traditional RLCs because of their compulsory participation in FYRE required by IC 20/20 standards.
There will be no changes for rising sophomores, juniors and seniors, who can still participate in these programs.
Some residents and alumni of the Housing Offering Multicultural Experiences program, a residential community that offers students academic programing as well as a community focused on multicultural experiences, were upset that incoming freshmen will not be able to participate in that particular RLC.
Sophomore Isuru Somasinghe, SGA’s vice president of academics, is an international student in his second year in the H.O.M.E program.
“FYRE, in my opinion, does not supply that small community that the H.O.M.E. program does,” Somasinghe said.
Prunty responded at the meeting saying she would take their concerns into consideration.
“It’s more likely that, instead of allowing exceptions for freshmen to live in the [current] H.O.M.E program, that we would create a H.O.M.E program in the First Year Experience area, because we are really committed to having all first year students live together,” Prunty said.
Recckio said he and Sean Themea, another class of 2016 senator, are considering co-sponsoring a bill supporting the continuation of the H.O.M.E Program. Both senators are current residents of the H.O.M.E program.
“I hope everything works out so that all four classes can have great residential living experiences,” Recckio said. “As long as there is a student perspective, we have a chance to make it the best it can be for students.”