With the hope of aiding IU students in the house-hunting process, an off-campus housing survey by IU Student Association member Kevin Mohsenzadeh will be distributed to a portion of the student body in a few weeks.
Mohsenzadeh, an IU freshman, began his student government career by joining the fall freshman internship program at IUSA. While interning for President Sara Zaheer, Mohsenzadeh took up the task of completing the off-campus housing survey. The final product won the approval of the University Survey Committee in time for it to be distributed spring semester.
The survey will go out to 20 percent of students living off campus and will gather specific information about these students’ residences, Mohsenzadeh said in an email.
“Students should expect to see demographic and background questions, followed by more specific questions about the area they live in and the pricing of their unit," Mohsenzadeh said.
The survey will also evaluate the difficulty students face in the process of obtaining off-campus housing information.
"We also asked a few questions concerning the process of finding a property, which we will use to help determine if existing University resources, such as Student Legal Services, are being utilized by students,” Mohsenzadeh said.
Zaheer said the results of the survey would be collected in a report that would then be used to match students with community resources to aid them in their housing search.
The survey is meant to be for students’ gain rather than that of the surveyors, Mohsenzadeh said.
“Students will benefit from the survey by being able to make better informed decisions in regards to finding off-campus housing, and they might also be primed to think about new questions the next time they are looking to rent a property,” Mohsenzadeh said.
Zaheer said IUSA feels improving the process of finding students a home at IU is a priority.
“A big factor in college affordability is living costs, and we wanted to create a way for students to share some insight with each other and have another resource to take into account when making housing decisions,” Zaheer said.
Mohsenzadeh said he agreed with Zaheer. He said saving money is important and that he also wants to save students time.
“In the end, we hope the survey will serve as a valuable tool for our student body that also provides necessary feedback which will be used to help connect students to current University resources that are currently underutilized,” Mohsenzadeh said.
The project will give students the ability to find the right house for their financial situations, Mohsenzadeh said.
Mohsenzadeh said the process of completing the survey was tedious and involved finding questions from other university surveys, adjusting them and adding other questions that were relevant to IU and Bloomington.
"After finalizing the wording of the questions, we submitted the survey to the approval committee fairly easily, and it was approved within a few weeks,” Mohsenzadeh said.
When asked whether he was surprised the survey was approved, Mohsenzadeh said in a way he didn't know what to expect from them because the survey committee is new and rarely receives student submissions. Regardless, he said he felt certain in the project.
“I expected the survey to be approved because I was confident that we made a strong argument for how it would be beneficial for many people across our student body,” Mohsenzadeh said.
Though Mohsenzadeh completed the project, the survey had been in the works since before Mohsenzadeh was even a student at IU. He was excited to be a part of the process, Mohsenzadeh said.
“When I was approached this year about helping complete it, I was immediately intrigued because I thought it would be something that students just like myself could benefit from for years to come,” Mohsenzadeh said.