Originally published June 2, 2013

For the second year in a row, Grand Valley State University is facing an issue of on-campus housing overcrowding, which has resulted—and will possibly again result—in sending freshmen off campus into the intimidating upperclassmen communities of Laker Village and The Ravines.

GVSU Housing Director Andy Beachnau said other first-years will squeeze in additional roommates in an attempt to accommodate everyone, and some will be forced to temporarily stay in lounges while the situation is addressed.

The problem isn’t that GVSU has too many freshmen and too few beds. The 2012-2013 school year had 4,005 first-years and room for 5,820 residents on campus.

The problem is that GVSU welcomes back too many upperclassmen to snatch up university beds before allocating the remainder to the freshmen.

GVSU Institutional Analysis dad shows that 3,335—about 84.1 percent—of first-time college students lived on campus in fall 2012. Those freshmen only occupied 57.3 percent of beds, meaning that more could have been accommodated if returning students hadn’t gotten first pick.

As of now, upperclassmen are offered official GVSU housing in on-campus apartments, gender-neutral housing, and family housing.

While the off-campus options are rightfully supplied to returning students, the on-campus units might easily be used to alleviate the strain of packed freshmen dorms and prevent freshmen from having to stray off campus.

So surrender the on-campus apartments and living communities, and save the off-campus stuff for the upperclassmen not yet ready to sacrifice the convenient location and comforts of university housing.

The move would certainly not be unprecedented.

Many colleges, including the University of Michigan, give preference to incoming freshmen before promising on-campus housing to the upperclassmen.

During the 2012-2013 school year, the University of Michigan was reported to have had a similar housing shortage where demand far outreached supply.

A reporter with AnnArbor.com wrote that the university ensured housing to all incoming freshmen before offering the leftover beds to rising sophomores. Interested rising juniors claimed some of the remaining rooms, and rising seniors scraped the bottom of the barrel for whatever was left.

Sure, this system might not have pleased many upperclassmen, but they’d had their chance to embrace campus life, and the freshmen probably need the experience more. It’s time for them to move on.

And it’s time for you to move on, Grand Valley. Welcome new faces and set the old ones free.

Don’t waste time drawing plans for renovations, new buildings or retirement of current units.

Just reserve room for those who absolutely need it, and fill in the rest later.


Original publication (on A4): https://issuu.com/grandvalleylanthorn/docs/issue_63