Rez kids pack their bags

This past week residence acceptance letters brought hope to many and disappointment to even more. The timing of the mail-out has also left optimistic candidates with little time to find homes right before finals start.

Residence Students’ Association president Allan Bailey pointed out that one of the RSA’s goals this year was to increase the number of beds reserved for returning students, which is difficult since the number of overall contenders is steadily increasing.

“We thought the number [of applicants] would be up, but not as high as what we are seeing right now,” said Residence Services director Joel Lynn.”That’s a reflection of two things­: the significant housing shortage in the city as a result of the state of the economy, and more and more students want to remain in residence–they want the residential experience.”

Some students were also disappointed by delayed renovations in Brewster, Castle and Norquay Halls. As a result, some students unknowingly placed the most run-down buildings at the top of their preference lists, assuming they would be fixed by September.

Lynn said it’s possible to ask to be moved into a different building, but chances are slim given the long waiting lists.

Rent in Brewster, Castle and Norquay Halls remains lower than in other buildings on campus.

“I don’t think that there are too many people that are upset about that because anyone will take a low-cost residence,” said Bailey. “It’s a valuable part of the school to have a residence that’s affordable.”

For students who didn’t get into residence, help is available to find off-campus housing.

“The key service we direct students to is the off-campus housing listing service offered through the Students’ Union website,” said Lynn.

Currently, the website has a total of 88 listings from landlords who are responsible for advertising their properties on the site.

The university is also building the Dr. Fok Ying Tung International House, to open in Fall 2008. It will include beds for 100 international students as well as hotel-style accommodation for 50-75 visiting staff from other universities.

There are a total of 1,535 available residence spaces on campus, with over 2,131 applicants this year. First-years still have until Mon., Apr. 30 to apply. Currently, about 700 spots are set aside for them, while only 461 people have applied. Returning students have about 400 places set aside for them and transfer students get about 200. Family housing consists of roughly 250 spaces and is now running at 100 per cent occupancy.

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