With over 2,000 students living on campus, Oakland University is expanding with a new residence hall. However, it might not be enough.
Come fall, a majority of students are excited to move on to campus after their summer break. However, for some moving back to Oakland University this means moving into the Extended Stay America down the street from campus instead of a dorm room in one of the six on campus residence halls.
Due to an influx of students wanting to live on campus, Oakland University Housing made a decision to place handful of students on the seemingly never ending wait list to get into housing in the Extended Stay America off campus as a temporary solution. While this may seem like a solid temporary fix for these students to still attend classes and live near campus, most residents living in the hotel hate it there. Even with the new residence hall that broke ground on June 8, 2016 set to have 750-beds for students, with Oakland University set to continue expanding the campus population, many believe it will not be enough when it has finished construction in 2018.
Doran Londo is on his second year being placed in the hotel before being able to move back onto campus. Last year Londo explained that it took him the majority of the year before he was placed into an on campus room. His biggest complaints, the lack of transportation and community. Unlike in all other residence halls on campus where community building is a big part of everyday life, in the extended stay “it’s non existent.” says Londo. Londo has also never met his Resident Assistant either, someone who plays a huge role for students in housing to build community and make residences feel at home.
Last year Patrick Wilkerson was also placed on the waitlist for housing and lived in the Extended Stay America until being placed in a room in West Vandenberg Hall in late September. Wilkerson explained that walking ten minutes just to get onto campus was terrible. “It was hard to judge when I needed to leave for class as it took ten minutes plus the walk from the edge of campus to whatever building my class was in.” Wilkerson also felt in more of a community once moving onto 5 West Vandenberg last fall.
The newest residence hall is set to be completed August 2018 but this only increases the chance that the demand for housing will continue to rise. When housing contracts opened for the 2016-2017 school year, Director of University Housing Jim Zentmeyer explained that all spots for returning students were filled up in mere minutes at a Residence Hall Association meeting a few days after the sign ups were opened. Why is Oakland University not looking into adding more than one new residence halls as this is such a problem year after year?
Current Resident Assistant Alexis Herbon has proposed the university turn Anibal and Pryle Houses back into residence halls. Being the same size as Fitzgerald House, apart of the Small Halls community including Hill House and Van Wagner House, that would provide beds for an additional 192 residence to live on campus. Herbon also explained “it’s easier to find office space than housing space.”
While a few students are admitted into on campus housing almost everyday due to other students choosing to leave their housing spots, many students are then placed into the hotel to fill those vacant spots, there is still a need for more housing expansion to be built over the next few years. Since Oakland University is already planning an expansion for the Oakland Center and the one residence hall, would it really be that much more to add a second new residence hall?