Residence Life faces resident shortage

By Gabriel Benson, Copy Editor

The dorm room is a cornerstone to the quintessential college experience. There’s something oddly charming and endearing (or perhaps not) about the cramped living spaces and the communal living style. If you live in Urness, you share a bathroom with well over a dozen other individuals. If you don’t get along with your roommate, sharing such incredibly close quarters with them may prove difficult.

Augsburg has no residency requirement. Considering the many housing options that exist within walking, driving or busing distance, some students opt not to live on campus at all. For others, one year on campus is enough for them to explore additional living options. The Cedar-Riverside and Seward neighborhoods provide several apartments and houses for rent to students.

If you’re one of those students who has decided not to live on campus, you may have received a call from a Residence Life employee in the past week. These calls asked commuter students if they would be interested in living back on campus, along with an offer from Residence Life; the first month of the spring semester housing for free. So far, this has been enough to fill five Mortensen rooms. This year, two of Mortensen’s 13 floors were closed due to an insufficient number of student residents. For the Department of Residence Life, this poses some potential issues when their department relies on students living on campus. With so many alternative options, Residence Life has to work extra hard to make living on campus a more beneficial experience than living off campus.

Some examples of these plans come from Amanda Erdman, Director of Residence Life. According to Erdman, Residence Life plans on implementing a repeat rate that, with a certain meal plan, allows for students living in certain housing styles in Mortensen and Anderson to maintain the same rate as they would have in Urness.

Residence Life also provides several ways for students to raise their selection number—the number that places you in line for signing up for housing. Activities and events include Golden Tickets that allow students to earn higher and let them sign up for housing earlier, and thus give them higher priority in choosing where they want to live.

When asked if other institutions face the same issue, Erdman said, “Many institutions of similar enrollment size do not experience this phenomena as they have residency requirements. Others, like Augsburg, without residency requirements and in urban environments that have multiple housing options nearby have experienced a decrease.”

As a smaller school, Augsburg can justify having only so many residence halls on campus. For some residents, there are no options that have appealing enough amenities to make the cost worth it. For others, campus provides the perfect fit for their college experience.

This article first appeared in the Friday, December 15, 2017, Edition of The Echo.