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Housing crunch lessened

Amanda Michaels | Wednesday, January 12, 2005

After a semester of decidedly cramped quarters, the housing crunch that forced many dorms to make use of every inch of available space came to an end in the new year, as students returned to campus to find a little extra breathing room.In the fall, increases in the numbers of seniors staying on campus and female applicants left almost 70 freshmen in increased occupancy rooms or converted study lounges, and left 20 female Notre Dame transfer students to live in Regina Hall at Saint Mary’s.Hesitant to declare the squeeze for space truly over, director of the Office of Residence Life and Housing Jeff Shoup said the situation has improved, but not as much as some would hope or like.”However, we do have [room] openings and have been able to take care of everyone on the waiting list, so everyone who wanted housing this semester was able to get housing,” he said.Shoup said that all but three dorms -Badin, Howard and Lewis – have at least one room open, with open spots for 16 students in the women’s dorms and 58 in the men’s. Because the number of students going abroad in the spring semester is roughly equal to that of students returning from abroad, Shoup attributed to the extra space to students who graduated a semester early, chose to break their contract and move off-campus or withdrew from the University.The greatest number of vacancies by far was due to those choosing to spend the second semester in off-campus housing, Shoup said, but exact numbers were not available because many do not report that they have moved until the day they return from break.Because of the extra rooms, all the women displaced to Saint Mary’s were able to move back to Notre Dame as space became available, or find housing off campus. Michelle Russell, director of Residence Life at Saint Mary’s, said that approximately 12 Notre Dame transfers were in Regina for the entire semester, and that they were not given the option of remaining at Saint Mary’s for the rest of the year.”I didn’t have any complaints or problems with the Notre Dame students living in Regina. I would say everything went as planned,” Russell said. “We were able to help Notre Dame with a housing shortage and I think the women who lived here enjoyed the experience.”As for the freshmen experiencing the squeeze of increased occupancy rooms, Shoup said that moving them was not a feasible option, partly because of the scattered nature of the available space. He did say, however, that they would try to accommodate students who presented them with reasons of why they had to move to a new room.”Our experience in the past though is that most of the students would prefer not to go through the hassle of moving, now that they’re used to their roommates,” Shoup said. “There were a few complaints because of the overcrowding at first, but once we got people in and started with the semester, they realized it was not too bad.”