Wake Forest Must Reexamine Housing Policies

Earlier this month, students registered for housing for the 2018-2019 school year, hoping that they would get the housing option of their preference. For many, housing registration is extremely stressful and daunting. For others, it is a walk in the park.

Before housing registration for the next academic year, many students found themselves in a frenzy. Current sophomores — as well as current juniors — struggled to put together a suite. With a large portion going abroad in the fall and a large portion living on their Greek organization’s halls or in theme housing, alternative options seemed slim.

For those who live in housing blocks with their organizations — namely Greek organizations — registering is not a cause of worry. They receive block housing and members of those organizations often go into a lottery to try to live on the organization’s halls. This whole process is done ahead of normal housing registration, disadvantaging other students.

However, many students on campus do not have the option to live in Greek or theme housing, and have to fend for themselves to find the best housing option. Students find extremely limited choices, especially for women’s housing, which ran out before all students were placed. In addition, more students go abroad in the fall semester than in the spring, so students can expect even greater congestion when they return to campus. 

In the spring of 2017, Angelou Residence Hall opened to students returning from a semester abroad. In the fall of 2017 it opened its doors to the first freshman class. For the past few years, the freshman class has increased in size, so Angelou was built to help accommodate the increase in enrollment.

However, there has not been an increase in housing for upperclassmen and there has not been a change in the rule to let juniors live off campus. Wake Forest is in a serious predicament when it comes to housing upperclassmen, especially those who do not have the option to live in theme housing nor off campus.

Additionally, student-athletes do not have the option for theme housing as other organizations on campus do. Student athletes often find themselves living with non-student-athletes, lending to conflicting lifestyles as student-athletes have varying schedules due to early practices and travel schedules. Student-athletes should have avenues to live together to accommodate this. Wake Forest should work with the NCAA to find proper ways to do this (student-athletes are not allowed preferential treatment per NCAA rules).

College students already have a lot of responsibilities and worries to juggle, and one of these worries should not be where they will live. Wake Forest students are guaranteed housing for all four years, but the process as it stands is stressful and the university risks being unable to keep their promise with the current housing stock.

Wake Forest needs to examine its housing policies and make decisions on whether juniors should be able to live off campus, whether more dorms need to be built, whether the university should purchase off-campus housing or find potential solutions to the problem.