Kelton Holsen, Managing Editor
This year, Augsburg is welcoming an incoming class of over 600 first-year students, a record for the school. This has caused unique challenges for the Department of Residence Life, who has made different efforts to address them.
Eric Pegues, Assistant Director of Residence Life, said that the sizeable first-year class is not the only cause for this year’s housing pressures. “We planned to support the needs of our current contract holders…and the things that they [want] throughout the years, like single rooms,” said Pegues. “The influx of the new first-year class…makes it feel like housing is so full, but we’re also balancing the needs of our…returning students, and the type of housing that they are wanting to experience.”
In response to this increase in demand for student housing, the Department of Residence Life has adapted several spaces to fit more students, including converting 2-bedroom 4-person Mortenson apartments to 2-bedroom 5-person apartments and expanding Luther townhouses. In order to make these spaces appeal to students, Erdman said, the Department of Residence Life has provided residents with extra furniture and bed lofts and provided discounts to reflect the more crowded space.
Sabrin Gadow, a junior is living in the only such adapted space in Luther, a 3-person 2-bedroom apartment that has been adjusted to become a 4-person 2-bedroom apartment by putting two students into what was once a single room. Gadow, who lives in the double room, says “I moved in about two weeks earlier than everyone else, and I kept complaining to them that there was no bed in here, and they thought it was a joke,” said Gadow. Gadow says that the Department of Residence Life never informed them about the compact nature of the space.
Amanda Erdman, Director of Residence Life, told the Echo that the department had notified the residents that the unit was a “2-4 small” and that there was “definitely an informed expansion to that unit.” She also mentioned that 2-3 spaces had been turned into 2-4s in years past, and that Residence Life has prioritized keeping those spaces as 3-person living quarters due to student preference.
Moving forward, Erdman says that the department has several plans to handle this class as they age through the system. She says that the department plans on “reaching out to anyone who is in the expanded units and getting some sense of their experience.” She also stressed the importance of the repeat-rate program, which allows rising sophomores to pay the same price for housing in their sophomore year as they did in Urness, and urged Augsburg to continue the program.
Erdman also spoke about some changes that the department is rolling out this year, including keeping the gender-neutral floor in Urness that was piloted last year, more hall programming run by RAs, a potential partnership with the Strommen Center for more career-centered events, and a pilot program for text message software that allows the department to “engage…with students on new platforms” and “to provide timely information that’s about their academic and social experience on campus.”
This article was originally published in the September 20, 2019 issue.