As we get further into spring semester, students are thinking about where they will live next year. As students search for their new digs, items of note include the off-campus process, Chapel View—a new off-campus property affiliated with the college—and problems with e-mail notifications.
The off-campus application process was completed in February, and students who received permission to live off-campus have already been notified.
“At this point, we are right where we should be as far as off-campus notifications, but that could change,” Director of Residential Life and Assistant Dean of Students Charlie Strey said.
Strey explained how there is little margin for error.
“We have a responsibility to fill 99 percent of the beds on-campus. We have 2,053 beds, so that means I can be off by [only] 20 people. We tend, at this point, to be on the conservative side, because we know we have a lot of students who want to go off-campus if we need them to,” Strey said.
Assistant Director of Residential Life Troy Seppelt said that mandatory off-campus informational meetings included more information about the process this year, which has led to fewer questions and less student frustration.
“Typically there’s a lot of push back about why someone didn’t [receive permission to live] off campus. This year there were none of those questions because I answered all of them in those three off-campus informational meetings. Every question I would have gotten after the process I answered before the process,” Seppelt said.
Some students, however, feel that they aren’t being accommodated.
“I applied to live off campus alone because my grandma lives at Fifth and Wabasha. I was hoping to live with her next year. You can live with your parents if they live within 15 miles of the college, but grandparents don’t count. She has been like a mother to me all three years I have been at Gustavus. They’re really strict with their set of rules. I don’t feel that Residential Life does a good job at accommodating people’s needs,” Junior Communication Studies Major Sara Asleson said.
Other students try to circumvent the housing system by not applying for housing or are not in the loop about the process and hope that they will receive permission to live off campus.
Senior Public Accounting Major Alex Bush received an assignment in Sohre Hall for the current year, something he did not want. “I was abroad in Australia the whole time. I was out of the loop. We tried to hold out for off campus, but that didn’t really work, so we got the last choice possible,” Bush said.
Other students like the college’s residential nature and think the process is fine.
While Junior Biology Major Peter Michaletz considered applying for off campus permission, he decided that living on campus would be the best choice for him because of the extra amenities and services provided to on campus residents. Despite that, he feels he could have saved money by living off campus. “I think the facilities are worth the extra cost,” Michaletz said.
Michaletz also mentioned that the proximity to classes is a big bonus for living on campus.
For students who have permission to live off campus, the college is promoting Chapel View Apartments. Strey said that the college’s relationship with Chapel View has developed over the past year.
“About a year ago, I toured [with the owners of Chapel View]. They said, ‘We’d love for the college to funnel students to us. How do we make that happen?’ I said, ‘We can’t. We don’t have that capability; [but] if you want to donate it, we’ll fill it.’ We didn’t hear anything for a while. In the [late] fall, we started to hear that they were actually considering a donation to the institution,” Strey said.
The owners of Chapel View met with the college and an agreement was made. Residential life will be promoting the property, assigning students to it and providing maintenance.
“[There is] the understanding that the college is going to get this property in ‘x’ number of years, whatever that is. They get to decide when they actually gift it to the college,” Strey said.
One student living in Chapel View is very happy with the property.
“I really like it. It is a perfect setup for students. The rooms are [a] really decent size. You get your own sink and refrigerator provided by the landlord. It takes me literally two minutes to get to class everyday. You don’t have to worry about getting up the icy hill because you are already on top of the hill,” Senior Communication Studies and Management Major Jenny Behan said.
While the housing selection process has run relatively smoothly according to Residential Life, there was an e-mail mixup following the four-person housing process. Seppelt said that while the system assigned housing correctly, some students who participated in the process received an extra e-mail, some students didn’t receive any e-mail and others received an e-mail with incorrect information due to a system error.
“If you [received] an e-mail that said you have an on-campus assignment, it looks like that one has been correct for all people who [received] it. If it said you [received] off-campus permission through this process, that’s completely wrong,” Seppelt said.
Seppelt emphasized that he is available to address questions or concerns. Residential Life has walk-in hours Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 3:00 to 4:30 p.m. when students can come and ask questions about housing without an appointment.
“The best thing that students can do if they have a question is to come and ask me. We want to make sure that students have all of the information possible to make wise choices,” Seppelt said.
Photos by: Catherine Keith