University to add 300 economy triples

By Katie Landeck

In response to the predicted fall 2012 housing shortage, Residential Life will create 300 economy triples in Southwest, Northeast and Central Residential Areas, according to Director of Student Services Dawn Bond.

The economy triples – doubles that are converted into triples by adding extra furniture –will be located in Washington, Emerson, Coolidge, John Quincy Adams, John Adams, Butterfield and Thoreau halls, according to Bond. Other dormitories in Central and Northeast will also house economy triples, although Residential Life has not yet announced which ones.

“It is my goal to house every student that wants to live on campus, even though we had to give people notice that we might not be able to guarantee rising juniors and seniors housing,” said Bond. “We did that to be careful and to be upfront about our housing situation and that we might run out of beds, but I hope that we’re able to house every student that wants to live on campus.

“I don’t know if I am just hoping this and want the universe to deliver … but I really think we are going to be able to provide a bed for every student who wants to live on campus,” said Bond.

Most of the economy triples will be in Southwest because the z-room – a room layout specific to Southwest – is the easiest room to convert, according to Bond.

The 300 economy triples will be able to house 900 students – a number that could, according to Bond, prevent students from having to live off campus.

“What I want to do is provide an on-campus option and that is where I am feel I am doing the best I can,” Bond said. “If there is a bed for you on campus and, even if it not your first choice bed, then I have at least met that bar.”

Students will not be randomly assigned to economy triples, but will have the option of selecting in to an economy triple on SPIRE during their housing appointment. Economy triples will be noted in the living options column of the Room Search Results page in SPIRE.

People who choose to live in economy triples will be able to live there for the entire year, according to Bond. Even if students elect to move out, the rooms will not be converted back to doubles.

“It is logistically very difficult to do that,” said Bond.

However, expanded housing – lounges in Orchard Hill Residential Area that are converted to quads – will only be available to upperclassmen in the fall semester. Freshmen will be allowed to stay in the quads for the full year, according to Bond.

Economy triples will cost $700 less a semester than a double.

Bond recognizes that not everyone will want to live in one.

“I think where it is going to break down a little bit is what students want versus what is available,” said Bond, who noted that the idea of living in economy triple will not appeal to everyone.

She added that some people might choose to live off campus because of the housing situation.

“It is going to be the decision that students make around what’s available. They may not want the area that is available. They might not want the room type that is available … there is a lot of things that students make decisions about that are outside of my control,” said Bond.

Even if students to not elect to assign themselves to an economy triple, the rooms will not be converted back to doubles, according to Bond. Instead, the rooms will be offered to transfer students who do their assignments later in the year.

“If we do end up with vacant beds which we always do anyhow … we will house more transfers,” said Bond.

For the first time this year, economy triples – which are called forced triples at several other universities – were used in several first-year halls, including Kennedy, John Adams and Butterfield.

Greg LaPerche, an undeclared freshman, was placed in a John Adams economy triple this past September. Although he hopes to live in doubles from now on, the experience was not a bad one, he said.

“It’s been alright, there have been no problems [and] no space issues,” he said. “It would be nice to have more space … but I do have the single side so I don’t have to bunk my bed or anything like that.”

Space was a concern for Magda Mitaszka, a student placed in an economy triple, who told the Daily Collegian last September that she was “not happy upon learning that there’d be three people living in a room that is meant for two.”

“If the school didn’t have rooms for everyone, then they shouldn’t have accepted so many students,” she said in the Sept. 6 article. “I am worried there won’t be enough space for all our clothes and various items and that the room will feel crowded.”

Bond said that at the end of the fall semester, students in economy triples had priority if they decided to apply for new on-campus housing. Only 14 percent of occupants in economy triples chose to do so, she said.

Katie Landeck can be reached at [email protected]