By Jules Banks
Roosevelt’s Wabash building has slowly and steadily increased in population since its initial opening in 2012. Although the school has not reached max capacity ever before, the halls continue to get busier and the elevators continue to get fuller. According to earlier reports, enrollment had increased in the 2018-19 school year, reaching 98 percent of its enrollment goals, and is continuing into a even bigger 2019-20 student body.
Coupled with the arrival of Robert Morris students next fall, this has created two situations never seen before by the Wabash Building: a housing waitlist and an official two-year housing contract.
The notice about these changes, posted on the 14th floor, was met with initial confusion by residents. Lizzie Kricke, junior RA for the 26th floor and student worker for Residence Life, said she noticed some of the confusion herself.
“It was news to me, too, when I got the emails,” Kricke said, referring to an email from Residence Life sent on March 18. The email listed off when students could sign up for housing and went over housing rules. “They really are stressing to us that more people are going to live here, so it’s more important that we ensure our residence – sign up for housing now,” Kricke said.
Kricke also made reference to the stricter contracts provided to the new incoming freshmen, explaining that the new freshmen would face a fee if they decided to break the brand new two year contracts, which will come into play in the 2019-20 school year. This differs from the previous years at Wabash, where only one year contracts were given.
Hilda Rojas-Duarte, the director of housing administration, explained the new contract in more detail.
“We have a housing policy at Roosevelt which calls for all students to live on campus for two years, except for students that are over the age of 21 or have transferred in with more than 30 credit hours,” Rojas-Duarte said.
“And so, yes, in years past, because we only had a one-year contract, there wasn’t really a penalty for people who didn’t sign up for a second year, there wasn’t really a way to hold people accountable,” Rojas-Duarte said. “If you create a policy and you have no way of enforcing it, your policy doesn’t really hold much truth.” Rojas-Duarte went on to explain this was the reason the two-year contract was put into works. It will be implemented during the 2019-20 school year.
The housing contracts fell in the shadows of the larger change, however. For the first time since its grand opening, Wabash’s popularity has created need for a wait list. Residence Life has put much effort into persuading students to sign up for housing as early as they can, using their campaign slogan “Get a Room!” as an eye-catching media tagline to keep students aware and interested.
Incoming freshmen, although being the last students to pick rooms, will have allotted spots reserved for them in Wabash. This is because the Wabash is the only place on the Chicago campus where freshmen are allowed to live.
“When we do room selection for returning students, half of the Wabash Building spaces get reserved for the freshmen class, that’s the only fair solution,” said Rojas-Duarte. “And so from the spaces for the freshmen class, they’ll have them until they’re filled.”
This leaves the remainder of the Wabash Building and Roosevelt’s allotted spaces in the University Center left for upperclassmen. Currently, the University Center has 195 spaces available to Roosevelt students. Roosevelt has never filled these spaces to capacity. Rojas-Duarte explained that both Wabash and the University Center spaces will have to be filled before students are officially put on the housing waitlist.
A large reason behind impending waitlist is Robert Morris’ presence at Wabash. Residence Life has officially stated that the RMU students will be living on the 20-22 floors, and will have a maximum of 137 spaces. It is not officially stated as to whether those spots are all filled yet; RMU will provide Roosevelt with a list of students within those dorms and RMU students apply for housing through their own separate housing portal.
If students have any further questions, Residence Life urges them to call, email, or arrange a meeting with them.