Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

University meets housing demand with additional triples

The University of Massachusetts was able to house every student that applied for on campus housing for the semester for the first time in recent memory, according to Executive Director of Residential Life Eddie Hull.

Emily Burt/Collegian

“We don’t even remember the last time that happened,” he said.

Residential Life was able to provide housing to all applicants – including transfers and returning students who missed the initial deadline – by using 300 economy triple dorm rooms.

Economy triples are rooms built to house to two students that instead house three. Housing officials convert them into triples by adding more furniture.

“We are very full,” noted Dawn Bond, the director of student services.

The bulk of the economy triples are located in multi-year dorms, including the towers located in the Southwest Residential Area.

There are four economy triple rooms on every floor in the Coolidge, John Adams and John Quincy Adams towers. There are also economy triples located in the Butterfield, Washington, Emerson and Thoreau dorms.

In Orchard Hill, the lounges have been converted into four-person quads to create more housing space this semester.

While housing officials generally try to avoid creating economy triples, a fear of a housing shortage that would have made Residential Life unable to guarantee housing to all returning students pushed administrators to create the rooms in March of last year.

“It’s an imperfect solution to an imperfect situation. Which is more important: to use our designed capacity and stick to that, or to house students?” said Hull. “I think most people would say it is more important to work with the people who really want to be here.”

Sophomore computer science major Zachary Buurstra is among roughly 900 students living in economy triples. He selected the assignment in the spring, so that he could live on the same floor as his friends.

“There were no doubles left on the floor my friend and I wanted to live on so we decided to suck it up and go with the economy triple instead so we could be with our other friends,” said Buurstra in a Facebook message.

Buurstra lived in a double last year, so he anticipates that the triple will take some getting used to. He plans to not spend much time in his room, aside from sleeping.

In previous years, the majority of economy triples were occupied by freshmen. However, due to the reorganization of the dorms and a smaller freshman class, there are only four economy triples on campus this semester for them. The triples are all located on one floor in Kennedy Hall in the Southwest Residential Area – the only tower still being used to house freshmen.

“Because of the way the residence halls were reorganized, it provided us with more designed bed spaces for first-year students, so we could reduce economy triples,” said Bond.

Last year, there were 200 economy triples occupied by freshmen.

The decision to house multi-year residents in economy triples instead of freshmen has irked some students, who feel that upperclassmen should have the better housing options.

“I understand the reasoning that UMass wants the freshman to come back the following fall, so they cater to them more than others who already found reasons to stay at the University,” said Buurstra. “At the same time I would prefer a double with my friend and would rather freshman be stuck with the triples.”

Katie Landeck can be reached at [email protected].

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