Transitional housing up in air for fall 2013

As students eagerly stuff suitcases full of their belongings in preparation for their first few days as college students, the transition period often is marked with equal parts excitement and anxiety.

Transitional housing, the temporary placement of freshmen students with an additional roommate as a result of housing shortages, has been one more thing incoming students have dealt with the past few years. But whether or not transitional housing will return for fall 2013 is still up in the air.

Ashley Chaney, the assistant director of communications for Residence Education and Hospitality Services, emphasized the arraignments are temporary, and residents are compensated for their time in transitional housing.

“Each student in a transitional housing assignment receives a rebate on their student account for the time they are in the assignment, whether it be for one week or the entire academic year,” Chaney said.

She also mentioned it was not uncommon for some students to enjoy the arrangements, with a 2010-2011 housing survey showing students in residence halls were satisfied with their experiences.

However, journalism junior David Reiss remembers his time spent in transitional housing less-than-fondly. When Reiss heard he’d be subject to an additional temporary roommate in McDonel Hall, he said he was concerned with finding a place to store his belongings.

“My experience was pretty awkward, one of the two roommates I had was pretty bad,” Reiss said. “(He) wouldn’t leave when the deadline came for one of us to leave even though the other roommate and I wanted to live together.”

According to REHS guidelines, if roommates cannot come to an agreement on who moves out of the room once a space becomes available, they resort to who signed the housing contract last. Reiss said he was lucky to end up living with his desired roommate, albeit weeks after move-in.

With more than 9000 freshmen arriving in 2011 and enrollment eclipsing 10,000 in 2012, according to the MSU Office of the Registrar, recent freshmen have had to contend with cramped spaces in many residence halls. Several strategies have been implemented in an effort to curb the phenomenon, from offering compensation to resident assistants who took on a roommate in 2011, to assigning temporary roommates to resident assistants the following year.

Physiology junior Ryan Owen, a resident assistant in the River Trail neighborhood, said he felt uneasy about the prospect of having residents live with their RA.

“I thought it was interesting and even counter-intuitive to give RAs a roommate — not only because obviously that’s one of the things you work for, but also because the job requires a certain level of privacy and a safe place to talk or to have discussions,” Owen said.

Although admission numbers are not final and the status of transitional housing is uncertain, Reiss said he hopes the practice is a thing of the past.

“I think that transitional housing should be avoided at all costs, college students need their space to live,” Reiss said. “And If there is no other alternative, then make it extremely temporary, and have it mandatory for some one to move out at the end of a certain period.”

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