University Housing is continuing to provide services to students, such as programs and housing assistance, in hopes of a return to normal operations in the fall.
Katrina Pawluk, the director of administration and occupancy management, said as of March 26, 2,284 students have registered and selected their rooms for the upcoming academic year. In the second round of housing applications, 800 current freshmen plan on returning to campus alongside 973 upperclassmen.
According to Donna McGalliard, the executive director for University Housing, NC State usually expects around 50% of students living on campus to reapply for housing. As for this semester, housing is at 41% occupancy or around 4,000 students, and about 2,000 students reapplied for housing in the first round of applications.
“Last year… right before COVID, we had just over 4,000 students participate in room selection or do the application for room selection,” Pawluk said. “Some students will do their application to participate in room selection while they’re looking off campus, so they’re kind of weighing their options.”
McGalliard also said University Housing expects to return to normal operations for the upcoming academic year. This would include double-occupancy dorm rooms, regular working hours for housing employees and other responsibilities. However, these provisions could change if there is an executive order that limits in-person gatherings.
Earlier this year, Technician reported that University Housing lost $23.6 million in revenue in 2020. Despite the smaller budget, housing staff continues to find ways for students to enjoy their time on campus.
“Our goal through this whole thing was to make sure that the student experience wasn’t impacted by the budget experience,” Pawluk said. “We wanted them to still have a good experience if they were choosing to live on campus and to provide them the same services [and] to provide programs and activities, whether that’s in person or virtual.”
One of the housing resources still available to students is the residential help desk, where students can ask and receive help, albeit at limited hours. Additionally, some University Housing employees are hosting online events, such as video game tournaments and book clubs.
In addition to providing resources for students living on campus, University Housing assists people who are facing housing challenges, such as the students who were displaced due to the fire at Village Green apartments.
According to Pawluk, 19 former student-residents of Village Green moved on campus after losing their apartments to the fire. After ensuring there were vacancies on campus, University Housing gave the affected students the option to decide where they would like to live and for how long. Notably, Housing still has vacancies open for students displaced by the fire.
While University Housing continues to provide services for students living on campus, it has found ways to offset the cost. One such way is through its cooperation with other groups within NC State to save money, such as Waste Reduction & Recycling.
“We’ve been able to figure out a way to trim our cost by only paying for the number of pickups that occurred,” McGalliard said. “What typically happens is you just pay one flat rate for the year, regardless of [the amount of trash picked up].”
Pawluk said University Housing also saved money by limiting the amount of housing staff working at a given time.
“Our offices aren’t fully staffed, but we have staff here every week,” Pawluk said. “So if a student needs to see somebody in person, there is someone here to be there for them.”
Despite the financial hardships Housing has faced, the department is dedicated to ensuring that students are satisfied with their housing experience and helping those in need.
“University Housing prioritizes students and their experience, and we know the impact that living in a residential community can have on a student’s relationship to the University,” McGalliard said.
Students can apply for on-campus housing through their MyPack Portal.