“Every Cowboy Needs a Home,” reads the OSU ResLife website. Every Cowboy may not have a home on campus next semester as students continue to struggle to find available dorm rooms.
A myriad of factors have caused securing on-campus housing to be difficult for many students, especially incoming freshmen who are required to live on campus.
Housing applications opened up in February, and as summer approaches, some incoming students are still without a single on-campus option. The newly redone housing portal is the main source of the housing woes, according Dr. Leon McClinton, the director of Housing & Residential Life.
“We had extraordinarily high traffic on the first day of the housing application process in February, which resulted in our portal not being able to respond quickly,” said McClinton. “The issues were resolved that same morning, and there have been no issues since... We have received many supportive calls and emails from parents and students.”
McClinton assured that there is room for every student who intends to live on campus in the fall.
“We absolutely do not have a shortage of spaces for students wanting to live on-campus. It is a common practice to hold some spaces for our living-learning programs and student staff until mid-May. All of our first-year students will be assigned a room,” McClinton said.
However, some students and parents have not seen these issues resolved just yet. Parent groups online are lit up with panicked parents seeking advice about the housing situation.
“All I see on Facebook anymore are these parents just manic about all the rooms being taken on the portal,” said Laura Prange, an OSU parent. “It’s just post after post after post of ‘Help! My incoming student doesn’t have a room!’ and nobody can get a straight answer why. I’m sure it’s very stressful.”
For parents, the summer is stressful enough as they send their children off to college, many for the first time. Being unsure of housing for their child is a difficult place to be, especially when it feels out of your control.
“When my boyfriend’s little brother tried to enroll, which was over a month ago, there were really no options even then,” said Grace Potts, a freshman looking to live on campus again. “But I don’t know how picky they were being at first. But now he’ll take anything, even the crappy ones, and nothing is there.”
Even students returning to on-campus housing are having problems. Some dorms are not showing up on the housing portal, even if there are vacant rooms.
“My friend last week tried to select to live in McPherson with me, McPherson was not even coming up as an option on housing,” said Potts. “I called ResLife, and they just kind of briefly mentioned that McPherson and specifically the room where I selected to live was on hold. So even though I don’t have a roommate, it’s on hold.”
Potts continued and explained that ResLife instructed her friend to email them with the dorm room information to be able to reserve the room since she wouldn’t be able to use the portal.
“Freshmen have to live on campus, so it’s not fair to them to have struggles because it’s not their choice to live on campus,” said Potts. “It’s just another added stress to not be able to find housing. That’s kind of an important piece of college living.”