December 16, 2022 | NEWS | By Leigh Walden | Photo from The Catalyst archives
Across the United States, some colleges and universities are adjusting to a new reality where, instead of students wanting to live off campus sooner, some are hoping to live on campus longer. Related to the impacts of starting their college experience online and off campus, some students are wishing to remain on campus through their senior year. At Colorado College, such desires are causing tension as housing systems, some of which are already strained over increased class sizes, don’t have the capacity to accommodate all the students that want to stay on campus.
Last week the CC Housing department completed the first step in the process of assigning housing for students for the 2023-24 school year by beginning senior housing selections. Some students looking to book next year’s residence ran into a variety of problems, including not getting emails about the selection opening, having difficulty using the new selection software, and, for students after the 2:45 time slot on Thursday, having almost no housing options to choose from.
The issues stemmed from a variety of causes but ultimately boil down to the fact that CC made only 75 on-campus housing spots available for seniors. Such a number stands in stark contrast with the 200 or so rising seniors who indicated a preference to live on campus next year. The reason that such fewer spots were reserved for seniors this year is because the school is trying to eliminate uncomfortable living arrangements around campus like forced triples and study rooms that were converted to dorms during the pandemic.
Last year, the housing department received similar concerns from students about not having the choice to stay on campus if they wanted to. However, one of the differences between this year’s protocol and last year’s is that the senior housing selection process happened much earlier, ideally in order to give those who didn’t get on-campus housing time to look for a lease.
Another change from last year includes switching to a new software program to assist in the process. According to Samantha Sorren, Director of Housing and Residential Experience, “Allowing students to use StarRez, we are able to remove a lot of bias. We’re no longer doing placements by hand which can open up quite a few issues. We’ve also worked with several campus partners to make sure we are meeting student needs to the best of our ability.”
One of the ways housing is hoping to meet students’ needs is by providing information as soon as it’s verified. Sorren says, “for this upcoming selection cycle, we wanted to get as much information out as possible as early as possible.”
However, there is still information that is not yet finalized for next year, including whether CC will retain its three-year on-campus housing requirement. Eliminating this requirement might ease some of the access issues by reducing the number of juniors who will need housing.
Such challenges have not come without pushback. The CC Student Government Association released an email this week with language that students could copy and paste and send to the housing department to encourage change. They also organized a sit-in on Friday, Dec. 16 in the Housing office. The topline goal indicated in their email is to, “Increase the number of spots available to 2023-2024 seniors on campus to at least the capacity that was offered in the 2022-2023 school year.”
The Housing department has already sent out a response to demands students are sharing with them. On Friday they will host those that come to the sit-in in the Bemis Lounge. In their response, they also said they, “have already developed a new position that addresses off-campus student support, and…will have an update in January on the status of this position.”
However, they made it clear that increasing the number of available rooms for seniors to last year’s levels was not currently under consideration. They also mentioned that the number of beds offered last year would still not account for all the seniors that requested housing in the survey.
For some of the organizers, this response is not adequate. Koray Gates ’25, one of the sit-in leaders from CCSGA, said, “This isn’t an issue that’s going away…We’re hoping to change it for the juniors and sophomores too.” For all other classes, housing assignments and sign-ups will happen next semester.
Some students in the 2025-26 classes are concerned and have been motivated to act both by emailing housing and planning to participate in the sit-in. Lauren Moore ’26 said, “As a first year, I am not affected by the housing situation. I hope to do what I can to help my junior friends and prevent myself from experiencing this.”
For now, upcoming seniors looking for more information or support can visit the CC housing webpage for resources.