Campus Life, The Board of Trustees and the Augustana Student Association are discussing wide changes to campus housing policy, including sophomore priority housing, flexible housing and renovations in Tuve.
The first housing policy change gives sophomores priority in Stavig, Granskou and Tuve in the room selection process.
“We obviously have a couple of fairly large classes here at Augie now, and we’ve been finding that even though we require first and second year students to live on campus, because of the way that we structured our room selection day, the students who are required to live on campus were selecting last,” Whitney Brown, associate director of Campus Life said.
“And sometimes that meant not necessarily knowing exactly where they would live before they leave room selection day. So we wanted to find a way to make that more fair for the people that were required to be here while maintaining some of the priority that juniors and seniors get.”
Sophomores will be assigned to double rooms in the Towers and Tuve, except for single rooms approved by Campus Life. But sophomores will get first preference on room selection day, while juniors and seniors will have priority in the apartments, theme houses, East Hall and single rooms. However, due to renovations in Tuve there may be fewer single rooms to choose from than in the past according to Corey Kopp, director of Campus Life.
To accommodate the growing class sizes, Campus Life has proposed renovations in Tuve. Although still pending approval, the renovations will create at least 40 more spaces by turning the single rooms into doubles, said Jonas Gjesdal, chair of the ASA housing and dining committee and theme house senator.
Light renovations will be made for cosmetic purposes, but the rooms themselves will not need much renovation to be able to accommodate two people, Brown said. “We’re still waiting on information on Tuve becoming all double rooms, but flexible housing in apartments and in theme houses is already available on the application.”
Current sophomores, juniors and seniors will still be able to homestead their spaces in the Towers, East and Tuve so that those rooms are blocked off before room selection day.
However, since Tuve is becoming all double rooms, current students living in Tuve who would like to homestead will be given the option to either homestead their room as a double or select a new space as a single.
Another proposed change in Tuve will include flexible housing on the first floor. Flexible housing refers to the idea that students can pick their roommates regardless of gender.
The theme for that floor will revolve around LGBTQ+ and Ally housing, offering an option for people who want to live in a community that is actively inclusive of all gender identities.
Gjesdal worries that people who are not LGBTQ+ will not want to live on that floor because they think it is “not for them.”
He stressed that the floor would not be an LGBTQ+ only floor. Rather, it would be an inclusive floor and it will be important to advertise it that way, he said.
The Endeavor community in Tuve, which is currently on the first floor, will be moved to the second floor. The third floor will have a theme focused on service and leadership.
Flexible housing will also be offered in apartments and theme houses.
The flexible housing derives from the fact that Augustana has numerous students who are related, Brown said.
“You might feel most comfortable living with your cousin in an apartment, but because your cousin is a male, we wouldn’t allow that,” Brown said.
“So it gives us a little bit more flexibility with students to pick their roommate and what is best for them and not necessarily because they are the same gender.
“This also allows us to increase the occupancy of those spaces and really optimize the occupancy in our theme houses and apartments as well.”
Flexible housing also offers an option for students who do not identify as male or female or do not want to be identified initially based on the gender that they fall into biologically. In this situation, they are not required to disclose the way that they identify. Flexible housing could also provide an opportunity for engaged students to live together.
“We also have students who are engaged but not necessarily married, and right now we require students to be married before they live together,” said Brown.
“So that gives them the option to have the living space that they want without having to rush into getting married.”
Another housing policy change removes themes from the coed floors, though coed floors will be still be available in the Towers.
“We are hoping that most of the changes will be finalized in the next couple of weeks,” Brown said.
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