Housing crunch and long-term solutions
Seton Hall and the Board of Trustees in the Village of South Orange are in conversation about possible ways to provide more student housing.
Tracy Gottlieb, vice president of Student Services, says the University would like to accommodate all students who want housing.
“We (Seton Hall) have met with South Orange officials to discuss possible long-term opportunities,” Gottlieb said in an email interview. “We have also spoken to several contractors, but at this point nothing is nailed down.”
Seton Hall and the Village of South Orange met in late September and are working together toward long-term solutions for student housing. “When we have real developments we will be sure to let our students know, but that is premature at this time,” Gottlieb said.
Gottlieb adds that whatever development plans eventually move forward, they will not be ready for occupancy in the next academic year.
At a South Orange Board of Trustees meeting on Oct. 12, Village President Sheena Collum spoke on the limited housing options that Seton Hall students have, according to an article in The Village Green.
It was reported that during the meeting Collum said, “We are looking at various development projects primarily in the business districts because they (the students) don’t have vehicles.”
Some attribute the limited campus housing to a larger freshman class, 1,415 freshman students compared to last year’s 1,250 freshman. However, Seton Hall’s housing crunch can also be seen as the outcome of Seton Hall becoming more distinguished.
“What’s really changing the recruitment for us is not so much a direct change in our efforts as the rise in Seton Hall’s reputation,” Alyssa McCloud, vice president of Enrollment Management said. “Our academic programs in particular are getting stronger, and we have stronger students so it’s creating a nice momentum.”
Within the past year Seton Hall’s Stillman School of Business has been named a “Best Business School” by the Princeton Review for the ninth consecutive year. In addition, the new College of Communication and the Arts formally began operations for the fall 2015 semester, while on June 9 Seton Hall and Hackensack University Health Network (UNH) formalized their partnership for the creation of a School of Medicine.
McCloud considers the joint effort of the Village of South Orange and Seton Hall to provide more student housing a “great idea.”
“South Orange is a great town. We already have two residence halls in town, Turrell and Ora Manor, so I think partnering with South Orange is smart and will allow us to provide different (housing) options for students,” McCloud said.
Ravi Shah, a sophomore political science and philosophy dual major, is the newly elected chairman of the Village Relations committee in the Student Government Association (SGA) at Seton Hall, as of Dec. 7. The Village Relations committee works on Seton Hall community involvement within the village of South Orange.
Shah says he sees the new housing and apartment developments being constructed in South Orange, like the new luxury apartments at Valley Street and Third Street, as possible opportunities for Seton Hall students.
“Perhaps Seton Hall and South Orange can come to an agreement in subsidizing a few of these developments for students,” Shah said. “With our student population growing, I think it is vital that we address the housing crunch as soon as possible.”
Shah adds that his idea is not an initiative of the Village Relations committee but is one that he hopes to work toward in the future.
Former Village Relations chairman Joseph Puleo, a senior political science major, says Seton Hall must realize its limitations in regards to larger freshman classes and limited student housing.
“As much as we might like to grow our student body, it is not feasible, as made evident by the housing problem. This whole problem could be solved simply by understanding who we are as a University and our logistical limitations,” Puleo said.
He adds, “Our campus and University are great as they are. For the best of Seton Hall, in terms of incoming freshman classes, bigger might not be better.”
Leah Carton can be reached at email@example.com.