Students live in makeshift rooms
When some on-campus residents get ready for bed, they hang their clothes on a cardboard box in a study lounge. And it’s not because of an unwavering devotion to homework.
Each fall Residential Life and Housing books more Moody Towers tenants than it can accommodate, partly to compensate for those who fail to claim their rooms and partly to ensure a maximum number of residents at the Towers, an official said.
"It’s pretty typical to have overflow for about four to six weeks into the semester," Staff Associate Director of Residential Life and Housing Sandy Coltharp said. "This year was an exceptionally larger number of students without a room."
Because living space at Moody Towers was 106 percent full at the start of the semester, students without rooms had to stay in temporary housing, or lounge areas in the Towers until permanent rooms were freed up. To date, 12 male residents are still waiting for their permanent room.
For some students this may mean rooming with up to four other students their first week of classes, but for others it means it can take as long as three or four weeks to obtain a room.
Business freshman Aaron Ledesma, who had to share a lounge with four other students, said the booking problems posed an inconvenience, but they were fixed fairly quickly.
"I was happy to get a room in the first place, because I applied late for housing. It was pretty reasonable rooming and there was enough space for everyone," Ledesma said. "They did over book, but they fixed the problems pretty quick. … I probably wouldn’t have come to UH if they had turned me away, though."
Students living in temporary housing receive a 25 percent reduced rent the days they share the lounge. A semester at the Towers ranges from $1,834 to $2,510 depending on the room, according to the RHA Web site.
In previous years, only four to five lounges were needed to accommodate displaced students. As of the first week of classes displaced students took up all 30 lounges, 15 per tower, with four to five students residing in each lounge.
"We’re not a commercial operation," Coltharp said. "Most of our students come in at the start of the fall. If we don’t capture students at the beginning we will be left with vacancies. We want to make sure we maximize the amount of students living in the Towers. If our rooms aren’t full, we aren’t operating on the budget we should be operating on."
Because every lounge was full at the year’s beginning, 150 to 200 students were turned away.
"We’re still looking to find space as people drop due to financial issues," Coltharp said.