Housing Options Lacking Diversity
A wide diversity of students call Lyndon State College home, but for students with families there are no on-campus housing options available.
Many LSC students have a lifestyle that doesn't fit the current residential options at Lyndon. There are students who have families of their own, whether married or not there is not a residential hall or even a suit that is suitable for students with children.
Several students attending LSC have children and families of their own. Luckily many of them live locally and have the assistance of family members. But there is the question of whether or not they would benefit from family housing arrangements on campus where daycare is provided.
Jeanne Peters, an early education major, commutes from an hour away. This is already a stretch for the average student, but on top of her commute, she has a three-year-old son she needs to get ready for daycare. This means getting up an extra two hours early to get her family ready and out the door so she can get to her classes on time. She says it's rough but better than the alternative.
"I know some students who have moved their whole families just to go to school here," says Peters. "It's difficult to find an apartment and move everyone to a strange place."
Although Peters has found a way to make her family living situation work with her school schedule, she believes family housing should be a high priority for LSC.
There are also students who are engaged when they come to Lyndon. The current housing policy states:
"Unmarried students under the age of 24 who are accepted to Lyndon as new students are required to live on campus for two consecutive academic years."
According to this policy, even if these students live together at home as an engaged couple, there is no space in the residence halls for them to live together in the same room the way they would at home.
Aja Lessard, a senior psychology and human services major, is all too familiar with this housing issue as she spent almost two years of her engagement to her ex-fiancé living in the dorms.
"The first year we were engaged we were [living] in separate buildings," says Lessard. "It was annoying because we were living together at home, but on campus we had to stay separate. Instead he basically lived in my room."
The following year Lessard and her ex-fiancé moved into a gender-neutral suite in Rita Bole Complex but were still assigned separate rooms. Lessard says this arrangement "was much better" but also said "[s]huffling back and forth was a pain that I hated."
According to Lessard there were many other engaged couples her freshman year at Lyndon who faced similar issues.
Residential Life has already got these issues on their radar.
Residential Life Director, Erin Rossetti, says there has been some discussion about the possibility of adding accommodations for alternative student housing. Rossetti believes that in the past there had been alternative housing, located in the Grey House, for women with children or families but cannot confirm this as it was before she came to work for Residential Life.
As for present day family housing, there just isn't room for it in the existing buildings.
"The infrastructure of what we have on campus right now just doesn't fit a model for [family housing]… living in a suite in Stonehenge isn't really conducive to having children or a spouse who doesn't go to school here," says Rossetti.
There has been an effort to accommodate married couples that wish to live together on campus. The couple may opt for gender-neutral housing in Rita Bole Complex as Lessard and her ex-fiancé did. Rossetti recognizes that it is not the double room living situation that would be preferred but as of now it is the only option.
Discussion of building a new residence hall on the property on McGoff Hill owned by the college has also stirred ideas of alternative or family housing units. Rossetti confirms that the idea of family housing has come up in these discussions. According to Rossetti there are lots of ideas floating around but nothing has been finalized for the property.
The Residence Hall Association, a group of students, advised by Rossetti, and a part of the SGA, is mulling over the idea of making double rooms gender-neutral. There is concern about making these rooms available in residence halls other than Rita Bole.
"For Rita Bole its nice because its six people so you can easily find six people who want to live together. In Stonehenge it is fourteen people to a suite so it's a little bit harder to find fourteen people that want to live in a gender-neutral suite and they don't have private bathrooms," says Rossetti.
She continues, "It's not that we are opposed to it or that we're not thinking about it, it's just that given what we have for space it's really hard to make that work at this point."
In the mean time, students who are engaged will have to settle for gender-neutral suites and students with families will continue to seek off campus housing.
For those needing assistance with on and/or off campus housing options Residential Life is happy to help. Elaine Fournier, who works at the front desk of the Residential Life office, provides a list of up to date off campus housing listings in the area.
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