By Ani Freedman ’22

Chief Photographer Herald Staff

With housing selection season underway, students are buzzing with excitement, nerves, and questions regarding where they will be living in the 2019-2020 school year. Rising sophomores, juniors and seniors are most likely looking to upgrade their living situations, but rumors have been stirring on campus regarding the possible uncertainty of off-campus housing, overcrowding, and the mystery of the Geneva Gardens located across from JPR. The Herald recently sat down with Brandon Barile, assistant vice president for Campus Life, to address some of these rumors and outline how the process works.

Barile first acknowledged the possible loss of off-campus housing in the future for the Classes of 2022. “I don’t know where those rumors have come from,” Barile told the Herald. “The Colleges will continue to offer off-campus housing,” in conjunction with residential life on campus, and continue to “work in tandem with the students on their lease agreements and offer tips to negotiations with landlords.” He said there are about 200 students who choose to live off campus, ensuring there will be “no over-occupancy.” With this rumor working its way amongst students, however, worries have arisen about the reality of overcrowding on campus.

According to Barile, the only sign of overcrowding on campus is within first-year dorms. “At this point, all nontraditional triples have been offered to be de-tripled,” he said when asked about residential overcrowding. With the continuing of off-campus housing, the primary overcrowding issue would remain amongst first-year dorms, due to the fact that the Colleges aim to keep the incoming classes together and not place them amongst sophomores and upperclassmen in Medberry and de Cordova.

Across from the first-year dorms of JPR, a residential community called Geneva Gardens is inhabited by local Geneva citizens — but with questions of overcrowding and future Res-Ed plans, rumors have been spreading about the property and its relation to the Colleges. Students have been discussing the possibility of HWS owning this complex and possibly planning to convert it into dorms or more living spaces for students. Barile could only clarify that the Colleges “do not manage or own” this property, and as far as he is aware it is run under a “sole-proprietor” not affiliated with the Colleges.

As for the future and current goals of the Office of Campus Life, Barile wanted to make sure that HWS students are aware of the open communication that Res-Ed wishes to have with them. “We’ve been responsive to requests,” he told the Herald. “Adjusting dates for housing applications” and promoting “housing options for all” (such as more gender-inclusive housing and the conversion of Medberry and Hale Hall into co-ed dorms) were some of the examples that Barile provided regarding the previous discourse the office has had with students. Despite the lack of communication regarding the housing rumors circulating throughout HWS, Barile made it apparent that Res-Ed believes this open communication is necessary in understanding how the housing process works and what students need to do to ensure they are properly placed in years to come.

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