With limited internet access and bedding and clothing still in boxes, 41 freshmen and transfer students are awaiting permanent housing as temporary guests of The Doubletree Suites on New Hampshire Avenue.
The students were placed in the Doubletree because they submitted their housing applications “quite late in the summer,” Director of Housing Andy Sonn said. He said the placement was not the result of “over-enrollment” and there will be plenty of spaces for students in “regular” housing by Sept. 22.
Sonn said the housing assignment is “a temporary one,” and when students move, provisions like moving vans will be available.
Sonn said a list of students who receive permanent housing is posted each week. Fourteen students moved out of the Doubletree Saturday.
“The thinking behind overflow housing is that we always have a certain percentage of students who are no-shows, or who ‘melt’ from the housing system,” he said. “These no-show beds become vacancies that we can place students into during the first few weeks to maximize the number of beds we can offer students.”
Last year GW temporarily housed 16 students in the GW University Inn for about a month, and housed 60 students in the State Plaza Hotel two years ago, according to Hatchet articles.
Students named dial-up internet and charges for outside phone calls as the biggest negatives to living in the hotel.
Students are charged 50 cents each time they sign online or make an outside call, plus a per-minute charge. Students said GW officials told them they will pay each student $30 for these services when they leave the hotel.
Six students are currently living without internet access because they spent more than the allotted $30, said Doubletree evening manager Juan Manzilla. Manzilla said students were informed of the possibility of phones getting turned off.
“Right out of the blue they shut off our phones, without warning,” freshman Greg Grockenberger said.
He said he is “pretty darn sure” he and his roommates did not go over the $30.
Freshman Mark Henry said dial-up access is “annoying” because the hotel “screws you” with extra charges after staying online for more than an hour.
Though residents pay hotel prices for the internet and phone, they are not charged hotel room rates.
Sonn said the students will pay a nightly rate equivalent to a Thurston six-person room while at the Doubletree, then will be charged the rate of their permanent residence hall once they move in.
Students also complained it was tough to meet other students, since some live next door to hotel guests.
“It would nice if we were all on the same floor,” Mishkie Barnea-Smith, a sophomore transfer student, said.
“It’s been hard to meet people in our own building . that’s why I am excited to move out of here.”
“All the people who are in the hotel know each other really well,” Henry said. “But as far as meeting other people it’s been really unpleasant, just the people we meet in class.”
Henry also said the rooms do not contain enough furniture, and he keeps his computer on a table.
Though students said there are downfalls to living in the hotel, most said the Doubletree’s accommodations are “comfortable.” Some compared the rooms to City Hall’s.
Sonn said each room has a full kitchen, living room, bedroom with two double beds, a TV, desk and kitchen table. There is also 24-hour front desk service and a roof-top pool. Students are allowed housekeeping and room service, and free, freshly baked cookies daily.
Dawne Troupe, a sophomore transfer student, was placed in the Doubletree after her housing forms were mailed to the wrong address, but she’s “pretty happy” where she is.
Amy Seabolt, who works at the front desk at the 105-room hotel, said there have been few complaints from hotel guests regarding GW students.
“There have been no problems with them at all,” Seabolt said. “They have been great.”
Hotel officials also said they first made students show their GWorld cards before entering, but stopped because they became familiar with the students’ faces.