The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Strategic Plan Causes Problems in the Housing Process

The real reasons behind the problems with housing lie in Guilford’s strategic plan, which plans for higher student enrollment, yet does not include a plan for building a new on-campus residence hall. Sending angry e-mails to the Campus Life office, accusing them of “screwing us over,” is counterproductive because they are not the ones who decide the content of the strategic plan. I do not write this piece in the interest of defending the Campus Life office or those who approved the strategic plan, but I do believe that it is in the best interest of the students to know how the process works so they can argue the parts they believe to be unfair effectively.

In order to ease the housing crunch, building a new on-campus residence seems to be an obvious option, but according to President Kent Chabotar, “Trustees have carefully considered the implications – financial and otherwise – to building new housing. The decision was made this June not to follow our new student apartments . with additional new housing, but to seek more creative and cost-efficient measures.”

The decision to utilize other options instead of investing in a new building was seconded by the strategic long range planning committee, which includes student representatives and the Senate president in the academic year 2006 – 2007 and “It was also vetted with community senate by Dean Fetrow,” Chabotar said.

It is doubtless that one of the major contributors to the unsatisfactory housing process is the fact that first-year enrollment is increasing, yet “‘Letting in too many new students’ is an overly simplified way of looking at the situation,” said Alyson Kienle, associate dean for campus life.

“The admission office works hard to attract more applicants each year and they accept a certain number of students,” said Kienle, “but they never know how many of those will make Guilford their final choice, and many students don’t enroll even after confirming enrollment by the May deadline.”

Kienle also said that since many students do not inform the college once they decide to transfer or drop out, the summer is usually a time when housing is overcrowded.

“In the summer we did send letters to about 60-70 students to let them know that they would not be able to live on campus until spaces open up,” said Aaron Fetrow, dean for campus life, “but all of these students either did not turn in their applications online, and they also did not participate in the housing lottery, and since there are about 1057 beds and 1450 students, those who apply on time get first priority.”

Sophomore Dean Malelu is one of those students. “I’m usually very laid back and I don’t mind where I live and I like meeting new people,” said Malelu, “I just need to live on campus because it’s more affordable.” Malelu went through his Quaker meeting to find somewhere to stay. For the first few weeks he will be staying in Guilford’s head librarian Mary Ellen Chijioke’s guest room until a spot opens up on campus. Early this week, Malelu was informed that some spots have opened up on campus, yet final arrangements have not been not made.

Students like Malelu should not have to resort to outside sources for help, which is why students need to be more involved in the organization of the system. It would be more effective for students to become involved when these issues are being decided on, rather than getting an unpleasant e-mail informing them that they will be living in a triple. I urge students to participate and ask more questions so that we can be a part of the decisions regarding the “creative and more cost-efficient measures” to better housing in the future.

“We had four open forums last year regarding housing and I think about 15-20 students showed up” said Fetrow. “When we have these forums and give students opportunities to voice their concerns, please show up.

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