Housing situations could see a makeover at Goshen College in the near future as Student Senate and members of the newly-formed student housing committee hosted an open space for students to discuss these potential changes last Monday, Nov. 11.Last year, a committee at Goshen College began looking at the different housing options for students with the goal of finding a financially sustainable and fair alternative to the housing options offered at the time.
Gilberto Perez, vice president for student life, began the meeting by apologizing for the lack of student representation throughout the process and made an effort to correct this shortcoming by adding two student representatives: juniors Samantha Shenk and Bobby Sessa.
“We’re ensuring that there’s a space where [students] can offer their thoughts and comments on housing options we are considering,” Perez said.
Conversation was then opened up to students on the three housing options that are being considered by the committee this year for potential implementation come fall of 2020.
The three housing options include: a four-year residency plan, requiring students to be four years removed from high school in order to be eligible for off-campus housing; a three-year residency plan; and the current housing model which requires students to attain 112 credit hours prior to living off campus.
A point of response from the students came over the new provisions to the third option which would no longer accept Advanced Placement courses and exams or College Level Examination Program (CLEP) credits.
Emma Bontrager, a first-year student who will be eligible for off-campus housing her senior year under the current plan, voiced her concerns over the change.
“I believe it should be a student’s decision whether or not to live on campus, especially senior year,” Bontrager said. “By the time senior year comes around, most students are over 21 and as such, I believe
renting an apartment should be an option.”
More questions were raised throughout the morning session in regards to meal plan requirements, senior discount distribution and enrollment efforts.
Jace Longenecker, a senior currently living off campus, shared his thoughts on where he believes the root of the housing problem lies.
“I really think it’s a question of admissions and enrollment,” Longenecker said. “If we can solve those problems, we won’t need to nickel and dime [GC] seniors to live on campus for four straight years.”
Conversation continued for about an hour in total as students raised questions and voiced their opinions.
In response to some pushback of this plan, the administrative housing committee addressed areas they found problematic and most of all, encouraged those gathered to assist in finding a creative way to improve the current model.
“We want to eliminate the game of credits,” Chad Coleman, director of campus safety and housing operations said. “That has been our sore spot.”
But Perez later said, meeting all the students desires is harder than it looks. He emphasized that there are many factors that go into implementing a model.
“It’s not all in [student life’s] hands,” he said, citing departments of finance, development and others as voices in the process of saying whether or not plans are feasible.
As the conversation continues, the housing committee hopes to hold more open spaces including different aspects of the decision such as Deanna Risser, vice president for finance.
This will provide more details
on the financial feasibility of
all three options mentioned.
The outcome remains in doubt surrounding student housing provisions in the coming years, but the committee hopes to have an answer by fall of 2020 or 2021.