GW faces overflow in freshmen housing

With freshmen residence halls packed to the brim, the Community Living and Learning Center dispersed about 60 incoming freshmen into temporary housing in Thurston Hall study lounges and suites in the nearby State Plaza Hotel.

The eight study lounges in Thurston Hall have been converted into quads, and students who could not be accommodated in the freshman residence hall have been assigned to transitory doubles in the State Plaza.

Andrew Sonn, associate director of Housing Services, said the brief inconvenience of housing congestion was due to the amount of housing applications returned after the May 1 deadline.

We are committed to providing freshmen with housing, Sonn wrote in a letter to students assigned to rooms in the State Plaza.

As the headcount of no-shows and other room openings becomes available, CLLC will move residents into their permanent housing.

This is a great way to get (the students) integrated, Sonn said.

CLLC has proposed to relocate the hotel residents, who are without University’s ethernet access or adequate phone service, by September 10. Freshmen in Thurston Hall study lounges will take second priority.

CLLC officials said they hope to move all students early in the semester and on the weekends to avoid disturbing schoolwork.

Historically, there have been enough no-shows to accommodate (our needs), Sonn said.

GW previously experienced freshmen overcrowding in the fall 1997 and again in 1998 and both years moved freshmen into temporary outside housing.

Housing overflow is a common occurrence at most colleges, added Sonn, citing a recent situation at Northeastern University in Boston in which the university accepted about 25 percent more freshmen than they could accommodate.

Housing officials said they regard GW’s situation as a positive one for incoming freshmen and their families, but the application of the system provided mixed reactions.

I’d rather be in here, said freshman Josh Weiss as he surveyed his study lounge room, which is carpeed and provides more space than many quads in Thurston Hall. It’s huge.

Three residents of a fifth floor study lounge said they did not look forward to relocating in upcoming weeks.

Everybody’s already made friends, and then they’re gonna choose to stick us in spots that might even be in other dorms, said Shyrea Thompson. You pay some money and expect to get some fair treatment.

All four residents of the study lounge also deny the University’s charge that they sent in their housing application late.

I paid ten dollars to get mine in on time, said freshman Michaela Murphy.

Within the upscale suites of the State Plaza Hotel, GW freshmen shared similar discontent with the University’s attempt at hospitality.

You don’t feel into college yet, said Blayr Nais about her temporary room two blocks down the street from Thurston Hall.

Other displaced freshmen said many complaints stemmed more out of inconvenience than anything.

It’s more about being spoiled, said freshman Bryan Huber, who is currently living in the State Plaza.

Sonn said conversion of the study lounges into actual living quarters was not expensive, and the University is renting hotel rooms at a discounted rate from daily rental fees.

I think most students are just happy to have accommodations, Sonn said.

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