Students face housing crunch

The residence life department is starting the process of planning and organizing student housing for next school year.

On Jan. 25, residence life sent out a reminder email to students informing them the housing intention process will occur Feb. 14 to March 9.

Housing intentions are completed through students’ my.butler accounts. Students declare online where they intend to live for the next school year.  Options, as stated in the email, include living on campus in residence halls, living in a Greek house, studying abroad, living with parents or leaving the university.

Butler has an on-campus housing policy, which requires all freshmen, sophomores and juniors to live on campus unless they live at home with a parent.

“Butler is a residential education university,” Doug Howell, associate director of residence life, said.  “That’s what we want it to be.  We believe in the benefits of living on campus.”

The intention process helps give residence life numbers and insight as to where students want to live and how many intend to live in  housing units, Howell said.  In this way, residence life knows how many

spots to designate in each housing unit.

As the largest freshman class in the university’s history moves out of the first-year residence halls, residence life is working to see where upcoming sophomores and juniors will fit within Greek housing, Residential College, the Christian Theological Seminary apartments, Apartment Village and University Terrace.

“This year’s freshman class is larger, but the sophomore class is smaller,” Howell said.  “We’ve actually been rather fortunate with that combination going into next year because both grades will be required to live on campus.”

The record-breaking freshman class of 1,111 students is almost 200 students larger than the class before it.

Along with the larger size came larger numbers for Greek life recruitment, with pledge class sizes much larger than in years past.

This, Howell said, plays a major factor in housing since sophomores aren’t allowed to live in AV and juniors typically don’t live in ResCo.

“We’re at a different place (as a university),” Becky Druetzler, director of Greek life, said.  “We have more students at Butler than we have had previously, so everybody has to start thinking a little bit differently.”

Druetzler said the larger pledge class sizes might be an abrupt change for groups with facilities that, in the past, could accommodate everyone who wanted to live there.

Druetzler said she doesn’t view Greek live-outs as detrimental but rather as different than what some groups are used to.

“Even within the Greek community, we have different-sized facilities, so different groups have been doing different things all along,” Druetzler said.

Freshman Lauren Hook is new to the Greek community this semester and said she sees living in a Greek house as a good way to always be surrounded by friends.

“Living out you are (surrounded) as well, but you are less connected with your house and everything going on inside of it,” Hook said. “I think it’s possible to make your live-out experience just as enjoyable, but I think it would take a lot more effort.  Either way, your house will make you feel included.”

Even with this change, Howell said there is no housing crisis for next year.  Everyone will have a place to live.

“It’s really about where everyone is going to go,” Howell said. “It’s not that we’re not going to have room.  We’re going to have room.”

After students complete their housing intentions, they will receive their random number for the housing lottery after Spring Break, which determines the order students will sign up for housing.

Upcoming juniors will sign up for housing on March 25, and upcoming sophomores will sign up on March 27 in the Reilly Room.

Looking to the future, Howell said the administration is having discussions about what the next residence hall will be and how class sizes will be controlled until the university builds that hall.

“I think we’re probably in for more change,” Druetzler said. “Everyone is kind of in the same boat, so we’ll just have to figure it out together.”

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