College moves summer housing to Willets, makes meal plan mandatory

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Students who choose to live on campus for the coming summer will have to stay in Willets Hall. In addition, students must also pay a new mandatory fee of $500 for a meal plan, increasing the total cost of staying on campus to $1,100. Many expressed concerns about the availability of amenities, namely the availability of kitchen spaces and air conditioning.

According to Assistant Dean and Director for Student Engagement Rachel Head Mary Lyon, which has been an option for summer housing, has “a large kitchen and in-suite bathrooms.” However, John Gagnon ’17, who lived in ML the summer after his freshman year, has mixed feelings about the amenities offered.

Although Gagnon generally had a fine experience, he is disappointed by ML’s kitchen spaces. “I was ultimately a little disillusioned with the problems that resulted from that many people trying to share two kitchen spaces,” said Gagnon. “It was often hard to get space to cook,” he said. “People wouldn’t clean up after themselves, and it became a general mess at times.”

For the coming summer, Gagnon is planning to live in the barn, a cooperative living community run by students.

Last summer, the college offered housing in Parrish and Mertz because of a two-year renovation in ML. However, due to Parrish’s high population of seniors (who have an extended move-out date), move-ins for summer poses a challenge.

Willets, which will be offered for the coming summer, will address such difficulty. Its advantage, according to Head, is that it has a relatively low senior population, meaning that transitions from move-outs to move-ins will be smoother than was the case in Parrish.

Additionally, since many students who will stay on campus will be taking part in will be researching or working with college offices, Willets has the advantage of being close to main buildings on campus.

Unfortunately, Willets, while having the aforementioned advantages, does not have AC services. For Kyle Yee ’19, this drawback is a major deterrent, even despite Willets’ proximity to campus. “I don’t really mind where I live to be honest; I just care about the amenities, which means bathrooms, ACs, and kitchen,” he said.

“The AC thing is a killer… It’s just surprising that they’d pick a place without AC, especially when there are other places with AC on campus.”

Consequently, Yee will spend two hundred dollars more to sublet an off-campus apartment, a decision which, according to him, is worth the cost.

While Yee needs to pay more for an off-campus apartment, Killian McGinnis ’18 actually has found the off-campus option more affordable. McGinnis is sharing the rent with a friend, spending less than the on-campus rent. In addition, she was awarded a grant by the Lang Center, which covers the cost of her summer off-campus rent. The grant, however, would not have covered on-campus housing for the summer.

In the future, the college will consider New PPR, which will open Fall 2017, as a summer housing option. According to Head, PPR will be all apartment-style housing and have kitchens in each unit. This will allow those looking for on-campus housing to consider options with better amenities. Head also mentioned the growing demand for on-campus housing. And so as the need for on-campus summer housing rises, the college will hopefully find an accommodating solution.


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