Webster University international students unable to return to their home countries search for housing options…
Webster residence halls open for students to stay during winter break
Going home this winter break is too far or too expensive for some of Webster’s resident students. Since going home is not always an option, the Department of Housing and Residential Life has decided keep the resident halls open to allow certain students to stay over the 2011 winter break.
Students must first be approved before they are allowed to continue residing in the halls over the break. Student approval requires an application process, and each application is individually reviewed by the Office of Housing and Residential Life. The office is charging a flat rate of $500 — almost $18 a day — to allow approved students, either residents of East, West, or Maria Halls, to stay in these halls over the four-week winter break.
John Buck, director of Housing & Residential Life, said the decision to keep the residence halls open during the break came after the Delegates’ Agenda last spring.
“One of the issues that came up was that there were, in particular, international students who were residence hall students that had nowhere to go (for the winter break),” Buck said. “We didn’t find that there were a lot of students that were jammed up, but we did find a number of students who didn’t have ideal situations. They were residents in the halls but they were staying on the couch of someone in the Webster Village apartments for the break.”
In the past, the primary reason students have not been allowed to stay in the dorms over the winter break was because the dining halls close during the break, Buck said. Without proper cooking facilities in the dorms, resident students rely on the on-campus dining facilities to provide them with food.
Another reason, Buck said, is the amount of money it would take to keep staff on campus during the holiday break.
For the dorms to stay functional over winter break, RHA is selecting a few resident assistants (RAs) to stay in the halls.
Trevor Harris, RA for the first floor of East Hall, came to the Office of Housing and Residential Life and offered to stay over the winter break.
Harris, a junior scriptwriting major, decided to stay on campus to get a head start on his projects for next semester.
The halls will not have front desk attendants, but swipe-card access to the dorms will only be given to approved students, RAs and Public Safety officials.
Public Safety will be informed of who will be allowed in the dorms over the break, and will monitor the traffic through the dorms.
Juan Salas, a freshman audio major from Colombia, is staying with his nearby aunt for the break. But for Salas, a resident of West Hall, the option of staying at his dorm for the break is, “really valuable.”
“If I didn’t have my aunt, then, definitely, it would be my main option,” Salas said. “I think it’s really good that they have the choice of people staying on campus. I don’t always want to inconvenience her (his aunt). I’m going to be here for five years, so I don’t know if I’m always going to be going over there (to his aunt’s house).”
While Buck anticipates many international students applying to reside in the dorms over the break, the offer is open to any student who can demonstrate the need for a place to stay.
“What we want to do is make sure we’re helping people that need this, not just want it,” Buck said.