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Full-year housing commitment raises eyebrows

Residence Life held the first ever fall housing lottery from Nov. 26 to Nov. 30 as a way for rising juniors and seniors to secure on-campus housing arrangements early.

A commitment to the on-campus housing for the full academic year is mandatory for participation in the housing lottery, which brought some concerns to the study abroad community.

In order to partake in the fall housing lottery, students that intend to study abroad for one semester next year were required to find a partner studying abroad the opposite semester, so that together the pair could commit to an on-campus housing option for the full year.

This requirement elicited criticism from study abroad students as well as faculty members supporting their students studying abroad.

Michel Rocchi, a French professor in the Foreign Languages and Literature department and Director of Language and Culture Programs at the University, expressed concerns that the policy would be especially inimical to foreign language majors.

“Our requirement for French Studies students insists on a semester of study in France or in a Francophone country, so I am quite concerned about any obstacles for our students, but for the campus at large as well,” Rocchi said.

Critics felt the new complications gave study abroad students a disadvantage in securing housing merely for the convenience of Residence Life in filling on-campus housing.  Some were even concerned that difficulties would deter students from studying abroad.

According to Shane Daetwiler, the Director of Residence Life and Off Campus Student Services, initial negative reactions to the partner requirement for study abroad students were due to confusion over the changes.

Study abroad students were advised against participating in the fall lottery without a partner because a full-year contract for housing would render them financially responsible for their housing the entire year.

The partner requirement was not instituted to make housing arrangements more difficult for study abroad students, and Residence Life collaborated with International Programs to ensure this was not the case.  Residence Life and International Programs published a list of students studying abroad next year to facilitate students in finding a partner.

The fall housing lottery was not the only opportunity for study abroad students, or any student for that matter, to secure housing.

The spring housing lottery will be held March 2.  Study abroad students are encouraged to predetermine a partner for this lottery, but they will not be penalized if they do not have a partner.  Study abroad students without a partner need only indicate which semester they will be studying abroad and Residence Life will place them in housing on an availability basis.

“Ultimately, all study abroad students will be placed in housing,” Daetwiler assured.

Confusion over the details of the new process for housing placement was cleared up through a series of discussions between Residence Life, International Programs and the Dean of Students’ Office.

Though Roy Robinson, Director of International Programs, was initially concerned about the changes, he left the discussions reassured.

“Really, there isn’t a major change in policy,” Robinson said.

Implementing the fall housing lottery was motivated not by a desire to easily place study abroad students, but rather to make housing arrangements more effective as the University works to foster a residential community.

Segawa emphasized that the fall housing lottery will work for the benefit of the residential academic programs housed in the new building.  Early housing placement will allow students to secure a spot in their preferred residential academic program.

“We want to have the residential academic programs occupied by students that want to be engaged in those programs,” Segawa said. “Early opportunity will allow us to fill the theme areas with students who want it.”

The fall housing lottery compounds the allure of the new residential building to attract upperclassmen to live on campus.

“We’re trying to give students who are going to commit for a full year an early opportunity to secure housing,” Daetwiler said.

Residence Life felt this early opportunity would offer incentive for upperclassmen to live on campus.

“Maybe in the past upperclassmen have felt it challenging to get the housing option that they want,” Daetwiler explained.

The fall housing lottery affords upperclassmen seniority rights in their choice of housing as making arrangements earlier provides the most options.

“There are a lot of experiences important to the liberal arts experience, but we want students to have the experience of living on campus if they want,” Daetwiler concluded.

Though the fall housing lottery ends Nov. 30, all students can participate in the Spring housing lottery on March 2 to arrange on-campus housing.  For questions regarding on-campus housing, contact Kelly Ammendolia, the Assistant Director of Residence Life, at kammendolia@pugetsound.edu, and for questions about living off campus contact Shane Daetwiler, the Director of Residence Life and Off Campus Student Services, at sdaetwiler@pugetsound.edu.

 

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