Sixty students live in University housing lounges

University Housing has transformed some residence hall lounges into rooms.


Lily Katz

San Kim (Freshmen, Political Science) inhabits what would typically be used as a lounge for Scott Hall in the Six Pack. Champaign, IL. August 24, 2016.

By Megan Jones, Staff Writer

Joshua Barker and his roommates sometimes feel like the stepchildren of their residence hall floor.

Unlike a typical room, theirs is a bit different: The three male students live in a lounge area that was transformed into a bedroom.

Barker, a transfer freshman in FAA, found out he was assigned to live in temporary housing in the beginning of August through email. He and 60 other male students are currently living in lounge areas, but this is not anything different from what University Housing has had to do over the last three years, director of University Housing Alma Sealine said.

The University has over 250 spaces they could convert into temporary housing, but they have not had to use all of the spaces this year. The majority of students in temporary housing live in Illinois Street Residence Hall.

“The target number for the incoming class has now reached 7,500 freshmen, so we have been over that number for the last two years,” Sealine said. “We work with our colleagues in enrollment management, find out what the target number is and then we try to work around the housing options that are available and reserve those spaces for first year students or returning students.”

Sealine said this year, the University has more male students than they originally set aside male space for.

As the University receives cancellations of housing contracts, they begin moving individuals into permanent assignments, Sealine said. Students in temporary housing placements depend on when they signed up. When a returning student decides last minute to come back to University Housing, they might not have space available for them right away, she said. People are placed first come first serve.

Barker lives on the second floor of Hopkins, where the living learning community LEADS is located. Because LEADS residents move in early, he felt everyone already acquainted with each other before him and his roommates arrived.

“It was kinda weird,” he said. “We didn’t get a chance to get to meet everyone, but we were just those kids that were assigned these rooms. We are like the stepchildren of the floor and ‘the people that are in that one room with four beds.’”

He said people have come and knock on the door, exclaiming “oh, you’re the people that live here!” and they want to look around the room.

On each side of Barker’s room are two large white boards and a metal cabinet doubling as an extra closet. They are allowed to write on the boards, which is an extra perk he said.

He originally had three roommates, but is now down to two after one left the University. While none of the roommates know how long they’ll be in temporary housing, Barker said luckily they all get along great and, the rooms are larger than regular rooms.

“I have no idea if I’ll still be in the Six Pack or in the Ikenberry, which I’d like to be permanently,” he said. “I’d like to even still be in Hopkins, but they haven’t really been vocal about the situation.”

Sealine said the addition of Wassaja Hall allowed the University to add 492 beds to the overall occupancy, which helped them have more flexibility.

The University uses both preferred and non-preferred temporary housing spaces. Preferred spaces are lounges with windows that used to be used as large group rooms but were later converted into lounges for the floor. Four to six people can stay in these lounges.

Non-preferred spaces are lounges that do not have exterior windows, preventing natural light from coming in. There are no students in non-preferred temporary housing this year, Sealine said.

“An interesting dynamic is that we start thinking about where we are going to live next year as early as October,” Sealine said. “So, we are planning about 18 months in advance at any given time. We are already starting the planning process for next fall.”

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