Due to the shortage of housing on campus, many students are still searching for a place to sleep this fall.
In 2009, along with the erection of Juniper-Poplar Hall, USF made it mandatory for first-year students to live on campus. Though the on-campus lifestyle allows students to avoid the terror of parking and waking up earlier for class, USF has not acknowledged the strain this puts on those who desire to continue their on-campus residencies.
The number of incoming freshmen is on the rise annually. However, the number of available beds is unchanging. This leaves many upperclassmen at a disadvantage, forced to pursue off-campus housing. For those who rely on financial aid to cover their housing expenses, this factor could determine whether or not they choose to continue their education here.
Luckily, the university has taken great strides in response to this issue.
Instead of having single rooms in dormitories like Mu Hall and Kappa Hall, Housing and Residential Education kindly transformed them into double rooms, cutting the living space in half.
These helpful additions are also conducive to the emergence of pests, which tend to appear in areas of close living quarters, specifically bedbugs, whose eggs were discovered in Mu Hall last month. Four students were relocated because of this.
How many more will wake up to infestation in the coming months?
One of the biggest issues related to on-campus housing is its affordability, or lack thereof.
For the price of $534 per month, students have been crammed into these double bedrooms and forced to share one bathroom with seven other people. This rate will rise to $550 per month in the fall.
For nearly the same rate, students can live right off campus with the luxury of single bedrooms, their own private bathrooms, plus the freedom — and elbow room — that truly reflects the ideal college experience.
I have seen students frantically stumbling into apartment communities around campus, practically begging for a bed since USF has nothing to offer them. Fortunately, each of these communities is quite welcoming and more than willing to accommodate students who need a place to live. That is more than what can be said for USF.
In a statement from last August, Greg Bowers, assistant director for communications and marketing for the Department of Housing and Residential Education, said due to the lack of available on-campus housing options, upperclassmen who applied for housing later in the year were put on “hold,” not receiving housing of any kind from the university.
Basically, being on “hold” is like being on a waiting list, where the waiting never ends. It was also mentioned last August that there are plans to expand on-campus residency within the next decade.
Students are in dire need of expansion now, so why put it off any longer?
As long as this housing shortage remains relevant, students who suffer because of it will be heated. Angry consumers typically look elsewhere. Thousands of new bed spaces better start popping up soon, or off-campus living will give USF a run for its money.
Giselle Muise is a freshman majoring in political science.