Closing the door on room selection for 2016-17
Wrapping up the campus room selection process on April 22, Cheryl McCloskey, assistant director of Housing Operations & Marketing, shared new plans for Serra, Aquinas and Boland Halls to prepare students for the 2016-17 year.
“Forty percent of students are from out-of-state in last year’s incoming freshman class,” McCloskey said. “So it’s not that we are giving more beds to more freshmen, it’s that there’s more freshmen who require them.”
As of Wednesday afternoon, there were still open beds available to students, according to McCloskey, who said 1165 students previously selected their housing option and 143 students were eligible to do so on Wednesday.
The room deposits for the 201617 year were due in February and capped at 1250 students; this is 100 more students than beds provided by HRL.
However, 50 students withdrew their housing deposits, exemplifying the expected decline of students who don’t claim a bed for the following semester.
In March, HRL announced it would make Serra Hall a freshman building – that has changed.
Serra Hall dorm rooms on the first and third floors are available to upperclassmen, with the second floor assigned to transfer or exchange students, McCloskey said.
“The rest of those 50 (students), I know I’m going to get them housed. In fact, by opening up Serra’s first and third floor (to upperclassmen), I’m taking care of the majority of them,” McCloskey said.
1250 additional beds are to be filled by freshmen, transfer and exchange students, according to McCloskey.
The housing demand led HRL to make changes for Serra and Aquinas Halls.
Alexandera Urbanski, a sophomore occupational therapy major and current Serra resident, said she received an email from McCloskey on March 31 which notified residents that they were unable to retain their beds in Serra in the room selection process.
Serra students were given an advanced room lottery time for April 8 before students with 30 to 40 priority points selected their rooms starting on April 12.
“We were going to retain our room but then they (HRL) said no,” Urbanski said. “I think eventually turning Serra into a freshman hall would be smart.” Urbanski added that she will be living in Neumann Hall next semester, the other building HRL had considered converting into a freshman hall.
The HRL decision to select either Serra or Neumann as a possible freshman hall was based off upperclassmen priority points, and the number of students qualified to retain their rooms.
McCloskey said, “I wanted to impact the least amount of students. The number was so disparagingly off-kilter, in favor of going to Serra, because they had the least amount of students who were qualified to retain their room.”
McCloskey added that while she did not have the exact number of students who were able to retain their beds in Serra and Neumann, it was more than 40 students in Neumann and less than 20 in Serra.
After neither Serra nor Neumann were converted into freshman dorms, McCloskey said that she offered Serra Hall dorms to 12 upperclassmen who voiced their complaints about not being able to retain their beds. They all declined the offer.
Freshman students will live in Aquinas and Boland Halls, with the possibility of a few freshman students on the second floor of Serra Hall if need be.
Aquinas Hall is not available for upperclassmen housing, according to McCloskey.
Nikki Doriety, a transfer freshman undeclared major, said she will be living in Xavier Hall in the fall.
“I really liked it,” Doriety said of her experience living in Aquinas. “I was very lucky to live here, the rooms are really nice. I like change though, so I wouldn’t want to live in Aquinas again.”
HRL is also completing its two-summer long renovations to Boland Hall, a freshman hall. Renovations include updated paint, new furniture and HVAC updates.
“Boland Hall is not coming offline,” McCloskey said of Boland for the fall semester. McCloskey also added that HRL decided Talbott wouldn’t be an option for student housing next semester.
“We had kind of a handshake agreement with Rutgers-Newark to provide us with 50 beds,” McCloskey said, adding that only 22 students showed interest. “My rule was that if it hit over half of those 50 beds, then I would’ve used it (Talbott). But for 22 students, it didn’t seem like it was necessary.”
Leah Carton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.