Approximately 45 students are still residing in overflow hotels due to a lack of available on-campus housing.
Last year, Residential Life emptied the overflow hotels within one week.
Students residing in the hotels are disconnected from campus life. As the semester goes on and the number of students in the hotels lessens, the few remaining students are left with even fewer connections to Tech. Many students and parents have questions as to why this issue exists.
Residential Life has a policy that requires freshmen and sophomores to live on campus. Sophomores can apply to be released from the halls at the end of the fall semester when choosing where to live for the following semester.
For transfer student Lauren Roach, living on campus was her only option. Without many contacts in Cookeville or time to search for other housing, Roach assumed that a residential hall would be the best way to get connected to other students and Tech events.
“It was mostly an inconvenience when it came to transportation,” Roach said. “I waited one day for over half an hour for either of the buses and ended up having to drive myself to campus because the bus never showed up.”
Fortunately, for Roach, she was not there for an extended period of time.
“They did do a good job about getting us all into the dorms quick, though. I was out after just a week and I was at the end of the list,” Roach said.
Not all sophomores are approved to leave the halls, however. Residential Life has been observing the need for more hall space and is making the adjustments needed in order to release sophomores to make room for other students wanting to live in the halls.
“We will continue to look at the sophomore requirement,” said Charlie Macke, Director of Residential Life at TTU. “[We will] see how that plays into this and what we can do with that to release some of the pressure on campus housing.”
Macke also said releasing too many students could result in negative business outcomes for Residential Life because the department is an auxiliary service, meaning all the department’s revenue comes from the fees paid by the students living in housing.
“What you worry about from a business standpoint is what happens if you lose 300 folks,” said Macke. “Now, [the halls] will open with 200 spaces, and at $2,000 a space [we would be losing] huge bucks.”
Despite the possibility of having an imbalance between residents and living spaces, Macke said he does not think drastic sophomore requirement policy changes would have a significant impact due to the results of slight policy changes in the past.
“Last year we released sophomores on the first of April,” said Macke. “We didn’t see any more sophomores take advantage of that than the year before, and we released them two years before in May.”
For more information on Residential Life, visit www.tntech.edu/reslife.