McMillan: Let’s make the best of CSU’s housing problems

McMillan%3A+Lets+make+the+best+of+CSUs+housing+problems

Collegian | Sophia Sirokman

Adah McMillan, Collegian Columnist

Editor’s Note: All opinion section content reflects the views of the individual author only and does not represent a stance taken by The Collegian or its editorial board.

Last semester, I weighed all of the housing options available to me at Colorado State University and chose to live in a community-style triple dorm room because it would be affordable but also offer more privacy than the equally priced community-style double. 

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But in June, after I’d already selected my room and thought housing decisions were behind me, I was notified the triple was no longer a possibility because of an influx of new students.

The idea of the triple had been a beautiful thing to me and a main factor in my excitement for the upcoming school year. The community-style triple arrangement placed three students in three separated rooms right next to each other with a shared door to the community hallway. You live with two other people, but you still have a room to yourself most of the time. 

But CSU converted all triples into community-style towers quads to save space: four students doubled up in two rooms with the third room as a shared living space. This style means you have to live with more people and don’t get a room to yourself. 

I was devastated that I could only achieve my dream of sleeping in solitude by paying $860 more per semester for a community-style designed single, and that price tag just doesn’t swing for a thrifty person like me.

After summer vacation, I arrived in Colorado full of fury and contempt for CSU Housing & Dining Services. Why didn’t they predict the excess students? And why must I suffer because of their faulty predictions?

Now, my suffering is nothing compared to that of the 150 first-year students at Best Western University Inn. In total, “about 400-500 students will start the year in temporary housing,” according to a 9News article.

“Next year, CSU should either accept fewer students or have more housing ready by move-in week. College isn’t just about getting a degree; it’s also about connecting with other students and finding out who you are, and it’s hard to do that when you can’t live on campus.”

It turns out this isn’t just a CSU problem. Schools across the country are struggling to house their students. According to an article in The Chronicle of Higher Education, “because rental prices in neighboring towns have ‘skyrocketed,’ campus housing in some places is the more affordable option — which also drives up demand.”

According to a Tallahassee, Florida, news channel, in mid-July Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University had “nearly 600 students … without a place to live with classes starting in less than six weeks.”

The University of North Carolina at Charlotte has problems and solutions similar to CSU’s.

“As of Aug. 15, 179 students were identified and assigned to expanded university housing,” a Charlotte, North Carolina, news channel said. “Of those students, 67 were placed in hotels, 92 were placed at The Edge apartment complex and 20 were moved to campus. Officials say this number is fluid and expected to change.”

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The University of Utah is also using its university hotel to house students, as well as monetarily incentivizing a program “asking alumni to lease scarce living space to students,” according to The Salt Lake Tribune.

It seems CSU is doing a pretty good job considering the circumstances.

“CSU says the hotel will serve only students during this time, with no public guests,” the 9News article said. “They’ll have on-site staff and partner with hotel staff and campus police to ensure campus safety policies and procedures still apply. And students temporarily living at the hotel will have access to on-campus amenities.”

However, the hotel situation is still not ideal, and CSU should learn from this year and keep it from happening again. Next year, CSU should either accept fewer students or have more housing ready by move-in week. College isn’t just about getting a degree; it’s also about connecting with other students and finding out who you are, and it’s hard to do that when you can’t live on campus.

For now, students should make the best of the situation. Instead of lamenting my lost triple, I’m going to accompany my new roommate to football games. Instead of sending angry emails to Housing & Dining Services, I’m going to recognize they did their best and take a chill pill. Instead of staying in my social bubble, I’m going to branch out and help people feel welcome at CSU.

Reach Adah McMillan at letters@collegian.com or on Twitter @mcadahmillan.