September 21, 2012 by Stan Wright
Migrations of freshmen, transfer students and their parents descended upon Drexel University the week of Sept. 17 in a housing blitz even larger than last year’s, which challenged University Housing once again to take measures to accommodate an overflow of students.
However, according to director of University Housing Joe Russo, the process ran relatively smoothly compared to last year despite having to provide housing for an additional 300 first-year students (3,100 compared to 2,800 in 2011). He attributes this preparedness to the “new strategies” his team implemented for returning students.
“University Housing offered triples to returning students in North Hall and Caneris Hall,” Russo said. “Stiles Hall, once held exclusively for graduate students, was offered to returning students. Finally, Drexel University partnered with The Courts, a residential complex at 36th and Powelton, to offer additional housing to returning and transfer students.”
Russo noted that upperclassmen who opted to live in tripled rooms would be doing so at a significantly lower price than those living in two-person rooms.
Other facets of the Overflow Occupancy Management Plan that Russo outlined are familiar. Lounge spaces in Myers Hall, Calhoun Hall, and Kelly Hall have remained bedrooms. Freshmen have been assigned to North Hall and Caneris Hall, buildings traditionally reserved for upperclassmen. Additionally, Towers Hall remains a permanently tripled building for the 2012-2013 school year.
Sophomore Jacob Merinar, an international business major, experienced firsthand what it was like living in a tripled room in Towers Hall last year.
“The average Drexel student would cringe, laugh and try to sympathize, but my friends from home didn’t feel comfortable visiting me if they had to stay in that cramped room,” Merinar said.
Under the triple-occupancy plan, Towers houses over 600 freshmen. Each student is provided a desk, a bed and a wardrobe, which just isn’t enough according to Merinar.
“It was cramped, and the tension was high. Thirty-three percent of a room is way different than 50 percent,” he said.
While some overflow measures have been retained, others have been done away with, according to Russo. Unlike last year, no freshmen have been assigned to share a room with a resident assistant. Additionally, no students have been assigned to live in a hotel, as 18 freshmen were last year. Those freshmen’s temporary assignment was at the Embassy Suites at 1776 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, from which they were eventually reassigned.
Still, other changes have been made to University Housing policy, including the addition that requires all undergraduate students, beginning with the 2012-2013 freshmen class, to live on campus or commute from their parents’ house for both their freshman and sophomore years.
“Drexel University believes that a safe, clean and comfortable living environment is a valuable part of a student’s social and educational experience and greatly contributes to their growth as a member of the University community,” Russo said.
He noted that in addition to the upperclass residence halls, sophomore students will have the option to live at University Crossings and Academic Properties Inc., as well as Chestnut Square, which is slated for a fall 2013 opening.
“Students will lease directly from these landlords and register their location in University-approved housing with University Housing,” he said.
Additional information on overflow housing measures is available on University Housing’s website.