Doug Cohen: Can’t live with summer housing

With summer quickly approaching, GW students planning to stay in D.C. are finalizing summer housing plans, a process that can be a struggle.

Rent in D.C. can be very expensive, while large apartments to house multiple friends are scarce. In theory, an easy solution to this stressful process would be to opt for on-campus housing. Students are allowed to live in two of the best residence halls on campus – Ivory Tower and South Hall – and spend the summer in a perfect location with familiar surroundings.

But a closer examination of GW’s summer housing policy reveals the process is unfair to students. While Ivory and South Hall are undoubtedly great places to live, rates are astronomical. And students can only live in South Hall if they lived there in the spring or will be living there the following fall.

It is only fair for GW to make its summer housing process more conducive to students, allowing for more options and lower rates.

First, the issue is not that GW limits the number of housing options for the summer. In fact, almost every residence hall on campus is open. City Hall, Amsterdam, E Street, FSK and Crawford, along with others, are all available for people to live. Anyone can stay in these residence halls – as long as you are not a GW student.

Rooms in these halls are reserved for unaffiliated nonprofits, educational and advocacy groups, volunteer organizations, religious organizations and individual students who come from other universities. It does not seem to make sense that the flexibility in choosing residence halls is reserved only for non-GW organizations and individuals.

If we are going to be constricted to only two choices for summer living, students should expect three things. In being forced to choose between two residence halls, we should not have to pay rates for two of the most expensive residence halls on campus. Paying close to $3,450 for about three months in Ivory Tower is too much for many people. I, like most others, am not planning on getting a bonus from Goldman Sachs over the summer.

We should not have to be limited to the two most expensive halls on campus, when other groups of non-students have the option of living in less expensive but still appealing residence halls. Ivory is an extremely expensive hall, and to only really have the option of living there for the summer is simply cheating students out of the opportunity to make their home away from home in the academic year their home over the summer. And the rates for the other halls are notably cheaper.

Similarly, we should also be certain we are able to live with our friends over the summer. GW housing explicitly notes that roommate requests are not guaranteed, so we potentially have to live with all random roommates while our friends are right down the hall.

Living on campus should be a simple choice, as campus is the perfect location for taking advantage of the city. Yet for many living in the residence halls, summer housing is not even an option due to factors like rent and timing. Yes, GW offers that option to students because summer after summer, there are GW students willing to pay and put up with the time constraints. But just because GW can get away with treating students and non-students differently, doesn’t mean it should.

Doug Cohen is a sophomore majoring in political science, is a Hatchet columnist.

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