University News

Overcrowding causes unusual housing for some

Senior Staff Writer
Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Finding suitable and comfortable housing for thousands of students is always a challenge for the Office of Residential Life, and this year was not an exception. An overflow of students in need of on-campus housing necessitated the use of temporary spaces and auxiliary housing this semester, according to Senior Associate Dean of Residential and Dining Services Richard Bova.

The overflow happened because approximately 40 students, mostly upperclassmen, opted for several reasons to live on campus even though they had originally planned to live off campus, Bova said. Accommodating these students left little space for all of the sophomores on summer assignment, the process for assigning housing to those who don’t receive a room in the housing lottery. In order to house all of these students, ResLife needed to use temporary spaces, like lounges and auxiliary housing.  

“It was a hectic first couple of weeks in August,” Bova said. But, he added, “it is important to take care of Brown students, and we got to do what we can to help,” even if this means putting some students in temporary spaces.

ResLife guarantees the availability of on-campus housing for all undergraduates.

Sara Rodriguez ’13 was put in a temporary space in West Andrews Hall with two other friends. The space, which was originally a lounge, has its own kitchen.

“We are generally happy with it,” Rodriguez said. And even though they could move to a permanent space once ResLife offers them one,  Rodriguez said they wouldn’t move out of their triple. “We have too many things in here already and we don’t have time,” Rodriguez said.

But Mia Zachary ’13, who was put in summer assignment and was assigned a permanent triple in Keeney Quadrangle, said she wishes she could have been offered a temporary option.  

Bova said it is not uncommon to find students that prefer living in temporary lounge spaces. Many students, Bova said, like having ample space in their room and a kitchen nearby. “Even if people are in temp spaces, they are still huge spaces,” he said.

While Bova said he “hate(s) to impact lounge space,” ResLife made sure that there was still at least one lounge and kitchen available for other students in the dorm.

“I don’t like using temp space, but even then we are better than everyone else,” he said. “Brown does not triple up in double rooms.”

Most of the people living in temporary spaces, Bova said, will be moved out “by the end of the semester or even winter break.”

However, it isn’t only students in summer assignment that live in triples or quads. Abhinay Reddy ’13 and the rest of his housing group decided to take a quad in Keeney during the housing lottery instead of entering summer assignment. Even though a quad is not the most desirable situation, Reddy said, his housing group is surprisingly pleased with the results.

“It’s a nice open space so you can have people over,” Reddy said. “You find ways to make it work. It’s kind of an interesting situation having four guys in one room.”

Summer assignment has not been bad news for everyone. Sophomores who were not put in temporary spaces, like Rodriguez, or permanent spaces, like Zachary, were placed in auxiliary housing — off-campus but nearby housing that Brown owns and offers students.

Allen Kramer ’13 entered summer assignment with a group of six and was happy to be offered auxiliary housing.

“We got the housing assignment a little under a month before school was starting that we were living in a townhouse,” Kramer wrote in an e-mail to The Herald. “We were all obviously ecstatic.”

“We’ve been unbelievably happy because we really wanted an off-campus setting from the beginning anyways,” Kramer added.

ResLife also offers auxiliary housing to juniors who have trouble finding space on-campus. Such was the case with Zach Alterman ’12 and his suitemate Matt Weisberg ’12. After applying for off-campus housing and being denied permission, Weisberg and Alterman entered the lottery with four other friends. However, a mix-up with ResLife caused the group to be split up, leaving only Weisberg off-campus and the rest of his group in triples in Hegeman Hall with an unknown roommate taking Weisberg’s place. When ResLife realized their mistake, they offered the whole group auxiliary housing, the two students said.

“ResLife basically said it was too late to switch their mistake and so we could either live with the random kid or move into a house,” Alterman said. “It was a pretty easy decision.”

“I am happy with the way this all turned out, and am grateful to ResLife for my new amazing living situation,” Weisberg wrote in an e-mail to The Herald, “but I also know that it took a lot of institutional nonsense and bureaucratic inefficiency to get us here.”

“I find it amazing that at a school where people are being placed in dormitory kitchens from a shortage of housing that people who actively desire to vacate school property would be not be granted permission,” he added.

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