Housing improves despite questionable choices

WSN Editorial Board

The Fall 2015 semester will bring numerous changes to housing at NYU, including the opening of remodeled dorms and major changes to the housing lottery. With the launch of Phase I today, students will begin the process of choosing suitemates and making deposits. While these modifications bring a net improvement to the overall housing assignment process, there are still questionable logistical choices that make the process unnecessarily more difficult for some residents, especially those in the Polytechnic School of Engineering.

The most significant change is the addition of Poly, Shanghai and transfer students to the general lottery, which now includes the previously Poly-only dorms Clark and Othmer residence halls. This change will help integrate different schools into a larger NYU community, but risks preventing students from living near their respective campuses. Unfortunately, Poly students will not be given priority to these Brooklyn dorms that are located near their primary campus. This is at odds with NYU’s general policy of keeping Washington Square freshmen as close to campus as possible.

Brooklyn locations now constitute some of the only low-cost housing available to non-freshman students. Based on the 2014-2015 prices, the cheapest academic year rate for upperclassman dorms was $10,100, which was for an efficiency double in Second Street Residence Hall. In contrast, a traditional two-person room in Brooklyn’s Othmer Hall costs only $8,800. Other room types are generally lower in both the Brooklyn halls as well, reflecting the lower cost of living outside of Manhattan. These drastically reduced prices will attract Washington Square students, possibly blocking Poly students who would prefer a location close to their classes in the process.

There are positive changes coming next year. The only dorm that includes a major athletic facility, Palladium Residence Hall, will return to upperclassman-only status.  In addition, far fewer students will live in the Affinia hotels. Those that do will still receive monthly MetroCards — unlike the displaced Poly students — but the study abroad priority incentive used last year to attract students to the inconvenient, temporary location will be dropped. This is a major improvement compared to the limited space available in the 2014-15 academic year caused by remodeling. While the actual room selection will not begin until March 30, these new changes have given students a lot to consider.

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While some of this year’s changes will help, others increase the burden on students with a later pick of rooms. The student-led Inter-Residence Hall Council helps influence the housing systems — anyone who would like to be involved in future changes should call at (212) 998-4682 or email [email protected] Poly students should actively campaign for priority in Brooklyn housing, or face a longer commute and more expensive housing.

A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, March 3 print edition. Email the WSN Editorial Board at [email protected] 

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