Upperclassmen face limited on-campus housing next semester

Prairie Crossing will only be available to Honors College, Regent Scholars, and graduate students next semester.

By Landon Williams | Staff Reporter

There are some shifts coming to the A&M – Commerce housing system starting in the fall. Upperclassmen will be designated to stay in West Halls, Smith Hall, Women’s Hall, or New Pride Apartments.

2018 high school graduates are able to stay in Pride Rock, Phase III, Whitley, as well as the other halls available to upperclassman.

2017 high school graduates are permitted to stay in Phase II as well as the halls listed for upperclassman. There is limited availability for 2017 high school graduates in other halls, but most space is reserved for 2018 high school graduates. The major change happening is that Whitley will no longer be an option for upperclassmen to live in.

Honor’s College students will not be affected if they are living in Prairie Crossing. Prairie Crossing is still reserved for Honor’s College students and Regent Scholars with limited availability for graduate students.

With a waitlist for New Pride Apartments and unless an upperclassman qualifies to live in the Women’s Hall, most upperclassmen will have to stay in West Halls or Smith Hall. West Halls are considerably smaller than Smith and also encompass family housing. A large majority of upperclassmen will be required to live in Smith unless something changes in the future.

When asked about the policy change, multiple students communicated that they knew other people that were affected.

“Upperclassmen do need more housing available because plenty of my friends got kicked out of their rooms to make room for new students,” Kathy Kim said.

“[I’m] uncertain about the future and kind of upset… all my friends live there [in Whitley],” Wyatt Bennett said.

When asked about the reasoning behind Whitley shift to being a 2018 graduate dorm, Director of Residential Living and Learning Michael Stark was able to clarify a few things.

“For the past five years, on-campus occupancy has grown; and a majority of that growth is in the first-year and second-year student populations due to the live-on requirement and overall recruitment initiatives,” Stark said. “As residence halls have been built, others have been demolished, and the actual housing stock has increased minimally.”

Stark also touched on how the growth of the university plays a significant part in how residential decisions are made.

“Growth of the university most certainly plays a role in the development of an occupancy strategy,” he said. “Also, as we continue to get closer to 100% occupancy, our strategy will need to become more targeted to university goals and objectives. Institutional growth is both positive and challenging, and our situation is similar to many other campuses.”

According to the department of Residential Living and Learning, the decision to make Whitley available to 2018 high school graduates comes from a place of evaluation and growth. Stark also stated that there is always a possibility that Whitley might revert to accept upperclassmen, but that it will continue to be a first year building with the current plan.