Temporary housing numbers down
The girls, who had been living in the fifth floor Teter Quad Wissler lounge since move-in day, discussed their new room assignments with one another among their bunked beds and tables serving as desks and storage space.
About 30 minutes earlier, they chose their permanent rooms for the 2012-13 school year in individual meetings with Sara Ivey Lucas, IU Residential Programs and Services’ assistant director for housing assignments.
These girls are four of 120 students who received emails Aug. 1 informing them they would start their school years in temporary housing. Once the 28 to 32 Teter residents living in lounges move out by today, 41 men living in Read Center and Forest Quad will be the only students living in floor lounges. Students from Foster Quad and Eigenmann Hall moved out of lounges before classes began.
“There’s a little bit of everything, but I may not be able to give you your dreams and desires,” Ivey Lucas said to the temporarily housed Teter students at the meeting. “We’ll try to find the best match.”
RPS has housed students in lounges for at least part of the last six school years, usually with 225 to 275 students starting their years living in a floor’s common space. Part of the reason students need to be housed in lounges, Ivey Lucas said, has been RPS’s construction schedule.
Both towers of Briscoe Quad are open this school year, though they house 400 fewer students than they did prior to construction.
For the previous two school years, one tower of Briscoe had been closed, resulting in 500 fewer rooms RPS could use. A new dorm on Rose Avenue is slated to open for the 2013-14 school year.
“With any luck ... we’ll have reached the point where we no longer have to deal with overflow housing,” she said. “One can never predict the admissions season and how many people are gonna want to come.”
By Aug. 1, RPS has to have an assigned living space for every student living on campus, Ivey Lucas said. After that date, they start checking enrollment status of students. They ask resident assistants to report any students who haven’t shown up for the school year.
Once they figure out who might be a no-show, they start contacting those students. Reasons students don’t show up to IU include visa complications for international students and serious last-minute medical complications.
“We probably have five students who didn’t think their basic training was going to start until January who discovered they have to report for basic training on Sept. 1,” Ivey Lucas said.
About 60 percent fewer students started this year in overflow housing than the 2011-12 school year. Then, 290 students began their Welcome Weeks living in lounges.
Freshman Sara Jallal said her parents weren’t thrilled when they found out she’d be living in a lounge.
“I thought ... I would be just so packed and not, like, comfy,” Jallal said.
One of Jallal’s roommates, junior transfer student Carson Nestler, said she and her mother were in disbelief.
“My mom got the phone call and was like, ‘This is a joke, right? Like, you’re kidding,’” Nestler said.
But Jallal, Nestler and their two roommates, sophomore transfer student Samantha Johnston and freshman Simone Graham, said last week was better than expected.
In addition to regular dorm room furniture, Johnston said they “also have all the couches and desks.”
“And the TV,” Jallal said.
“It’s huge,” Johnston said of their room.
“It’s like an apartment,” Jallal said.
They’re all biology majors but have spent their time together working out, eating meals and going on late-night vending machine runs.
The girls had arranged one side of their lounge as a living room: three blue couches surrounding a coffee table faced the TV. One of the girls had a pillow, a blue bedsheet and two blankets spread on a couch — she wasn’t a fan of her top bunk. Their four desks faced the wall of windows spanning the width of the room.
While the other girls on their floor are nice, they said they’ve become particularly close with one another because of close living quarters. Their RA didn’t put their nametags on the lounge door, so they made a sign themselves.
The four chose their permanent rooms based on their lounge experiences. Nestler knew she didn’t want to live in a building without an elevator.
Jallal couldn’t get into Nestler’s new dorm, so she chose randomly. Graham wanted to stay with friends she’d already made on their floor, and Johnston wanted an economical place to live.
Nestler, who chose her new room in Foster first, thought she didn’t have a roommate. She spent the rest of the meeting encouraging Jallal to try to sign up for the same room. But Jallal came back with a room in Read.
“What about Foster?” Nestler asked. “What about Crimson Creamery?”
“There was, like, no room left,” Jallal said.
Nestler said she was concerned she has missed out on Welcome Week bonding with her future floormates.
“It’s gonna be a bummer when I leave and I won’t be close to people here,” she said.