Administrators cleared up some confusion about the proposed satellite residence at the first in a series of open houses addressing off- and on-campus housing options last week.
During the open houses, which took place in O’Donovan Hall and the Village A community room, Vice President for Student Affairs Todd Olson assured students that while off-campus housing is a possibility, Georgetown will still remain united as one campus.
“We’re not talking about a satellite campus; we’re talking about a building,” Olson said.
The university will take measures to ensure that students living off-campus can remain part of the Georgetown community, such as running Georgetown University Transportation Shuttles between the satellite residence and the main campus 18 hours a day, every day of the week. Student groups that meet late at night have expressed concern that students would not be able to participate in activities if their ability to get to campus is limited.
According to Vice President for Planning and Facilities Management Robin Morey, the decision to live in off-campus housing would be entirely up to students.
“We need some people to be interested, but no one would be forced to live off-campus,” Morey said.
In order to gauge students’ thoughts on housing, Georgetown will conduct a housing survey later this fall.
“We’re looking at the student body as partners in this decision,” Morey said.
Olson added that the administration views on-campus housing as a priority for undergraduate students.
“We agree with you; we want you to be on campus,” Olson said. “The priority for undergraduates is on-campus housing.”
Should the university add a satellite residence, it would likely be converted to housing for graduate students in the coming years, after the university is able to accommodate all undergraduates on campus. As part of the 2010 Campus Plan agreement, the university needs to house an additional 385 students by fall 2015. Any lease the university would sign to add a satellite residence would have to be between seven and 10 years.
Although many students at the forum were adamant in their opposition to the idea of a satellite residence, Rebecca Barr (SFS ’14) said that the forum cleared up confusion about administrators’ plans for off-campus housing. Barr said she was initially opposed to the prospect of housing students so far from campus, an attitude she now thinks was due to misinformation about administrators’ plans.
“If this had been an option for me, I would have definitely considered it,” Barr said.
However, Rose Lauricella (MSB ’14), a student involved in the One Georgetown, One Campus campaign, said she fears that the creation of a satellite residence would harm upperclassmen that hold leadership roles in campus organizations.
“This would encourage juniors and seniors to be less involved on campus,” Lauricella said.
Tom DeBow (COL ’15) was especially skeptical of the claim that housing on Capitol Hill would be more convenient for upperclassmen with internships.
“I don’t see why we don’t just amp up GUTS buses,” DeBow said. “It makes more sense for students to live on campus and travel to internships than to live close to their internships and travel to class.”