Students return from abroad to the horror of housing

Last Spring, the Denison Housing department split from the Residence office at Denison, leading to many changes in the housing and roommate process. The Housing Department is now in charge of student housing, room assignment, break housing, open and closing residential halls, renovations and remodeling. This year is little different from the ones in the past with students coming back from their semester abroad. However, the one difference is there are more students this year that were okay with random roommate selection.

Before fall break, the housing department sent out an email to students that would have a vacancy during winter break. Students had a choice of picking from a list of roommates to move in with or have a friend move into their room. If they didn’t reply, housing assumed that the student was okay with random room assignment. Nearly two-thirds of students picked random roommate assignment, which is unusual compared to the one-third of students last year.

The housing department is trying to figure out the possible methods of making sure that all students are appropriately accommodated, but appreciated the students taking the initiative and figuring out housing situations among themselves.

“Students figuring out housing with among themselves benefited us, but this year we had two-thirds of students pick random housing, leaving us with only two completely vacant rooms,” said Kristan Hausman, the Director of Housing, Operations and Planning, and Dean of Students.

Students coming back from being abroad had a tough time when picking housing and adjusting to campus.

Hannah Fishkin ‘19, a women’s and gender studies major coming back from abroad said, “I was disheartened by the lack of preparation I was given before moving back on campus. I was lucky regarding housing, but overwhelmed so I can’t even imagine how others felt when they had to move in with absolute strangers, and into a place they weren’t entirely comfortable living.”

One of the problems that housing is trying to fix is sending students emails about their new roommates. Many students were not aware that they had a roommate unless they checked on their MyDenison account.

“With the splitting of the departments, we have the email glitch. We are trying to figure out how we can automatically send an email that students will be getting a roommate as soon as the student hits submit on the form. Overall, the process went smoothly and majority of the conflicts were resolved during winter break,” said Hausman.

The housing department is willing to work with students to resolve any conflicts that arise, but the problems are unpredictable and the housing department is trying to figure out the necessary steps to make sure that more students are aware of the options they have. Open communication between both parties is beneficial for making students more comfortable and helping the housing department find vacancies for students.