GW gives free holiday housing to student-employees, athletes

While many are busy booking flights home for winter break, about 140 students have decided to remain in GW housing for winter break – with no additional fees.

Any student with a job, departmental or athletic commitment can petition to live on campus during the three-week break. While in previous years students were charged a $400 fee for over-break bunking, this year the fee was waived.

“We don’t save any money by having security and staff during winter break,” said Seth Weinshel, director of GW Housing Programs, “but we also don’t spend any extra money.”

International students often choose to remain because flying back home would be too complicated or expensive and many athletes have required practices and games, Weinshel said.

Last winter break, students staying on campus were forced to move into either Mitchell or Guthridge Hall and pay the fee, unless they were part of a Greek-letter organization housing or had exemption from an athletic department. This forced some students into the uncomfortable situation of occupying a stranger’s room and surprised students whose rooms were to be lived in while they were away.

In response last year’s concerns, Weinshel said, GW Housing Programs has decided to include availability in at least four more residence halls. Now students who live in Francis Scott Key, Potomac House, Ivory Tower or Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis can stay in their own rooms or allow a friend from another dorm to stay in their room.

Weinshel said that there are 35 individuals not associated with a department or athletic team who petitioned for winter break housing by the Dec. 1 deadline. Last winter, eight students not associated with a department or team petitioned to live in campus housing during the break.

Another strategy being employed is using the rooms that were only occupied for the fall semester, Weinshel said.

“We are using rooms that are being vacated by students going abroad so that they are not going into other student’s personal space,” he said.

Divyam Singh, a junior, stayed on campus over last year’s break instead of making the trip home to India.

He said, “The University did a good thing by getting rid of the fee because it was expensive.”

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