By Kate Abbott
After returning from a quarter in Costa Rica, Molly Heft-Neal ’11 faced a waitlist and a series of walk-in meetings with Stanford Housing before finally moving into the sophomore dorm Toyon on Monday. Heft-Neal was one of many students who found themselves on the Housing waitlist after not receiving placement in a residence because they were abroad fall quarter.
However, the annual winter housing crunch has been somewhat alleviated compared to past years. A week into the quarter, all students with guaranteed housing status have already been assigned to residences on campus; a few students without guaranteed status still remain unhoused.
According to Executive Director of Student Housing Rodger Whitney, Stanford Housing always sees a higher demand for housing in the winter because fewer students choose to leave campus compared to those returning from abroad. Housing addressed the issue by preparing additional spaces to be available ahead of time.
“This year, for example, in addition to filling our regular on-campus vacancies, we reserved an additional small block of apartments in the Oak Creek Apartments complex in order to house undergraduates very near to the main campus,” Whitney wrote in an e-mail to The Daily.
In addition, apartments are also available to undergraduates in Escondido Village. While these measures were taken in previous years as well, the availability of temporary housing to unhoused students beginning the first Monday of the quarter has also aided those still on the waitlist.
“The numbers of students waiting for housing versus the vacancies available [is] never a completely stable situation,” Whitney said.
“There is much fluctuation in enrollment and occupancy over the first two weeks of each quarter, as students return to campus and/or depart for any number of reasons,” he added. “Thus, as vacancies become available, they are offered to students who are looking for housing.”
Heft-Neal expressed some frustration with the process, however, because temporary housing was not made available for unhoused students until last Monday, leaving many without a place to stay for the weekend before school began. She also felt that students who go abroad with a Stanford program are given a higher priority.
“It was frustrating, because when we first got told we didn’t get housing, we didn’t even know that was a possibility,” she said. “For our first meeting on Dec. 5, everyone was still abroad and we had to get a proxy, and that was stressful because we couldn’t even go ourselves.”
Heft-Neal was number 23 on the waitlist, and after sending a proxy to the first walk-in meeting and two consecutive rounds, she was finally given the choice of Toyon or the Oak Creek Apartments.
For Helen Chen ’11, returning from Santiago and moving into Muwekma-Tah-Ruk was a much easier process, and her experience in the Row house so far has been a happy one.
“I drew alone, and I just listed my preferences of where I wanted to live before the deadline in October,” Chen said. “I never had any complications with Housing.”
According to Whitney, absolutely no “re-stuffing” of previously unpacked residences occurred, and the Master Plan allowed for even more spaces to be available to students with guaranteed status arriving back on campus. “The uncrowding of our residences was a major commitment of Student Housing as well as the University leadership, and we have not reversed this process,” Whitney said.
“With the addition of the Munger Graduate Residences and the conversion of Crothers Hall to undergraduate housing, we have 450 more students living on campus this year than we did last year at this time,” he added.