Office of Residential Living offers new housing options for study abroad students

As of this week, the University housing policy announced last year that prompted outrage from students has officially been overhauled—or at least, significantly improved.

Detailed in the housing selection book, the policy stated that those studying abroad in the Fall of 2015 could not enter the housing lottery in the Spring of 2015 and thus, would not be guaranteed housing upon their return to campus.

This clearly had negative implications for students planning on studying abroad; as the Students Against Restrictive Housing Policy Facebook page stated, “This policy essentially states that any student who wishes to receive desirable, on-campus housing must forgo Fall study abroad which severely limits many students’ ability to take advantage of study abroad programs.”

Measures taken by Will Simons (COL ’16), Declan Kelly (COL ’17), and Ken Nunnenkamp (MSB ’16), however, have allowed for significant changes to be made to the policy.

In collaboration with the Office of Residential Living, the students worked to develop more options for those planning on studying abroad. The first of these is completing a vacancy request before the housing lottery set to occur on March 28th, which would ensure housing upon return in the spring.

Another option is for students to host an exchange student. This allows for students to “reserve” their housing spots for January, and although an application for this is required (and due on Friday to ResLife), it is a great way for the University to make an efficient use of its space as well as ensure housing for as many students as possible.

A lottery scheduled to take place from March 19th to March 23rd is another attempt to loosen the policy.

In his Facebook post to the student body, Kelly described how “a limited number of vacancies will be randomly assigned” to those who apply for them, going on to assure students that although these vacancies will not cover everyone, they “all but ensure that your friends returning from abroad can live with you in the Spring.” Finally, Kelly urged students to apply to a Living Learning Community spring vacancy as a way to guarantee housing.

Besides these options, Kelly also discussed the traditional process of students returning to campus in the spring who are not filling “prearranged vacancies.” While this process is still in place, the Office of Residential Living is now allowing students to submit requests early so that they can plan their housing situation ahead of time. The informal “hold system” in which “holders” enter the housing lottery and vacate the apartment after the fall semester will also remain in place.

Finally, Kelly made sure to emphasize how both he and others will continue to work with the Office of Residential Living in order to “develop a long-term solution for the Class of 2018 and beyond.”

Photo: The Georgetown Voice

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