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Students remain in temporary housing

November 9, 2006

With residence halls at full capacity, there are still more than 50 UW-River Falls students in temporary housing waiting to receive permanent room assignments.

According to Director of Residence Life Terry Willson, those students will have to bide their time a while longer.

Due to a recent decrease in the amount of housing contract cancellations, the majority of the students living in the provisional accommodations will probably remain there until the end of the semester, Willson said.

“Our cancellations have slowed,” he said. “Most of the people that, you know, it didn’t work out for them, or they didn’t like the University, or they decided to go elsewhere ... have gone.”

Willson said student turnover at the end of the semester should free up enough permanent beds to accommodate residents in temporary housing.

“We plan on them receiving their new room assignments before they leave here for semester break,” he said. “They’ll get first priority [in housing] before any new or transfer students that come in in January.”

The total number of students in temporary housing has dropped from a high of 150 at the beginning of the semester.

With the University having welcomed an unprecedented 1,296 freshmen to campus this fall, Willson said there are now more students than ever living in the residence halls.

“This is the highest number we’ve ever housed,” he said.

To better accommodate this year’s influx of students, sophomores were given the option of moving off campus and first-year RAs received temporary roommates, Willson said.

Students in temporary housing said they don’t mind having to wait a little longer for a permanent assignment.

Stratton Hall resident Ryan Ankerson had three other roommates at the beginning of the school year, but is now living alone.

“I’m fine down here by myself,” Ankerson, a freshman, said. “I’m the only one in the room.”

Freshman Andy Hopfensperger originally had four roommates in his May Hall temporary housing unit. He now has two, and said he enjoys the extra room.

“I have a little more space to myself,” he said.

Hopfensperger said he would prefer to stay in his current location instead of moving next semester.

“I would rather stay here with my roommates because we are already adjusted to this way of living and school,” he said. “Changing this [next] semester will just mess us all up again.”

According to Willson, Hopfensperger’s preference is not uncommon.

Residence Life has received requests from students to remain in temporary housing for the rest of the year, Willson said.

“We normally hear it when they get their permanent assignment,” he said. “Maybe it’s not their first choice as far as the building they’re going to or they’d really like to room with one of the people they’re already rooming with.”

However, Willson said, Residence Life does not grant these requests.

“We [don’t] give them that option,” he said. “We have to have some method to this assignment process.”

The hope is for the residence halls to regain full usage of their lounges, many of which are being used as temporary housing rooms, Willson said.

“Our desire is to get the lounges back if possible for students to use for late-night study space or socializing and things,” he said. “We like the idea of each floor level in a building having a place where [students] could go to study or could go to visit with friends.”

But Willson said Residence Life anticipates assigning many incoming spring semester students to temporary housing, which means that some of the lounges will continue to be used as rooms.

“We’ll house according to our ability, but ... we’ll know there’ll be a number of them in temporary housing,” he said. “Some of these temporary housing rooms, we’re emptying out in December and then we’re refilling them in January.”

Willson said despite the inconvenience temporary housing may provide, he believes most students are satisfied with their overall experience.

“It’s pretty livable [and] pretty pleasant,” he said, adding that Residence Life has received very few complaints from its residents.

To serve UWRF’s growing student enrollment, future housing expansion plans include the addition of two wings to the South Fork Suites.