Future housing policy to prioritize on-campus housing

Future housing policy to prioritize on-campus housing

During Tuesday evening’s housing meeting, Residence Life announced future changes to housing policy and meal plans. Most of the changes will not apply to current students and will take effect in the 2023-2024 academic year. 

It was announced that beginning in the Fall of 2023, students will no longer be able to live off campus unless they are four years removed from high school, live with a parent or guardian, or are at least 23 years old. 

Students will also no longer receive the housing discount currently available to students with 112 or more credit hours and will no longer be able to live with siblings as a way to live off campus. 

The 65 block meal plan will also no longer be available. Instead, students will have three meal plan options: the current carte blanche meal plan, an 80 block meal plan, and a 40 block meal plan. 

While it seems a lot of restrictions are being added, the college does plan to open more housing opportunities by bringing back some of the old intentional living communities (ILCs). 

In addition to these changes set to take place in three years time, there are some smaller changes that will affect current students returning next year. 

Students applying to live in an ILC will take part in a live interview rather than submitting a video application. The apartments will no longer have ILC space available, and will only be available as single-gendered housing. The remaining ILC options will be Howell, Kenwood, East Hall, Kulp West, and Kulp South.  

Finally, ILCs will be required to have themes and have an advisor to help plan two events each year. 

“I think the dream of the ILCs hasn’t been fulfilled,” said Corie Steinke, director of student involvement. “We’re adding structure to bring more intention to the houses impact on the Goshen campus beyond the house walls. We aren’t asking students to do anything extra, we are just formalizing it.” 

Goshen College had announced some of these changes last year, but retracted them two days later after pushback from students. Chad Coleman, director of safety and housing operations, said he and others planning the changes had not considered students who had already budgeted for housing arrangements years in the future. 

This year, Coleman invited students onto the decision-making committee, which he said helped anticipate the students’ reactions and experience planning for housing. 

Coleman said keeping more students in on-campus housing will help the college balance its budget moving forward and benefit both students and the college in the long term. 

“How do we make it fair for both students and institutionally for us to have a sustainable model to be able to be the college we want to be?” Coleman said. 

Coleman compared college housing and off-campus housing to dine-in and carry-out restaurant experiences. 

“We want to offer our students the best dine-in experience possible,” he said 

“I’m glad they’re making some changes,” said junior Patrick Webb at the housing meeting on Tuesday. “I wish current students could opt-in and benefit from some of them.”

Zack Begly, Executive Editor
Zack Begly, Executive Editor
Written by Zack Begly, Executive Editor

Reach Zack at zbegly@goshen.edu.

1 Comment responses

  1. Avatar
    February 27, 2020

    I (a recent GC alumni) am extremely disappointed to hear about these changes. Restricting students’ ability to live where they want to live and where it is most affordable to live may better serve the college’s budget but it won’t necessarily better serve all of GC’s students. Personally, I had a terrible experience living in on-campus housing during my time at GC due to things like the lack of private space, bad roomate placements and constant noise and bright light (especially a problem in the dorms at night). I would have found it easier to focus on my studies and maintain better emotional heath than I did had I been able to live off-campus, but this was not an option due to the restrictions GC already has in place. Also, it is simply inaccurate to say that living off campus makes for a “carry-out” college experience; commuters still participate in the college community in many ways and requiring students who may want to be commuters to live on campus will not necessarily improve their experience (for example, given the factors I listed above). And bringing back a few intentional living community options–which are very similar to living in the student apartments and come with their own extra responsibilities that students must take on, such as hosting events–will not be enough to balance the restrictions that will be placed on all students.

    Furthermore, given the increasingly crushing student debt level in the U.S., I don’t believe that it is moral for a non-profit college such as GC to get money to balance the school’s budget by increasing students’ basic living costs. GC could instead consider decreasing the amount spent on athletic programs and scholarships–which are often much higher than the academic scholarships GC provides–in order to better balance the budget and, also, better focus on the primary mission of the school: education (a mission to which collegiate sports do not necessarily contribute).

    All in all, the main problem with these new policies is that college students are adults who should be allowed to make their own decisions about where to live while in school (especially 2nd through 4th years). It’s great for the college to provide on-campus housing opportunities to students who want them. But requiring students to live on campus–as GC’s new extremely restrictive living policies do–shows the GC administration’s lack of respect for young adults’ decision-making capabilities, its inability to make space for diversity in students’ needs and desires, and its tendency to favor institutional well-being over individual students’ well-being; all things I already experienced during my time as a student. There are some great profesors at GC, but the administration has a lot of problematic policies in place (in my opinion) and the addition of this new policy is yet another reason I will not be recommending GC to any potential college student who asks for my opinion on the school.