The Office of Student Housing and the Office of Campus Activity Facilities will be shifted from the jurisdiction of the Office of Planning and Facilities to that of the Office of Student Affairs beginning July 1, consolidating all student space within Student Affairs.

By consolidating space formerly owned by disparate groups including Student Affairs, the Office of Residence Life, the Center for Student Programs and OCAF, the shift represents a significant step in ongoing efforts to create a centralized student space booking system.

Vice President for Student Affairs and Vice President for Planning and Facilities Robin Morey announced the realignment in a memorandum to university and student leaders Wednesday.

The restructuring is a result of feedback from Hoya Roundtable discussions and other conversations with students and faculty over the past two years, Morey and Olson wrote.

“This change comes at an exciting time and provides us the capacity to ensure students experience a premiere residential environment that supports an engaged campus community,” Olson and Moreywrote.

Starting this summer, Director of Student Programs Erika Cohen Derr will be responsible for OCAF, which will become a part of the student engagement function in Student Affairs. Cohen Derr has been responsible for finding alternative spaces for student groups currently housed in New South during construction on the Healey Family Student Center, slated to begin this summer.

“We recognize that this office serves faculty and staff as well as students, and it will continue to play this role as we move forward,” Olson and Morey wrote about OCAF.

Current Director of Residence Life Stephanie Lynch will be responsible for a merged Office of Student Housing and the Office of Residence Life. Last week, the two offices launched a new Student Living website to supplement the Housing-at-a-Glance dashboard. The new joint office is designed to enhance the living and learning experience for undergraduate students at Georgetown.

Georgetown University Student Association Director of Student Space Jack Appelbaum (COL ’14) said that a centralized student space booking system could realistically be introduced by January.

“A lot of progress is being made and this will help significantly,” Appelbaum said.

GUSA President Nate Tisa stressed that the change will allow students to communicate more effectively with administrators about space issues.

“The potential is huge. Our administration can take the entire year and work on student space issues students brought up. Now, because of this change, we’re going to be able to get things accomplished in a much shorter time frame,” Tisa said. “OCAF isn’t just for students, but now that it’s in Student Affairs, it’s a lot more student-leaning than it was before.”

The Department of University Facilities and Student Housing is currently transitioning to become Planning and Facilities Management. The new division, headed by Morey, will primarily be responsible for master planning and facility infrastructure improvements. Jonalyn Ware Greene, current executive director of campus housing, will lead the new Office of Financial Management and Business Operations within Planning and Facilities Management.

“We have been thoughtful during this process and are confident this reorganization will serve Georgetown well. Steps to ensure a smooth transition are already underway,” Olson and Morey wrote.

Former GUSA President Clara Gustafson (SFS ’13) pointed to the contributions of the Georgetown Community Partnership Campus Life Working Group, which has debated the problem of uncoordinated space on campus.

“A theme that came up throughout discussions was how to best create coordination, something that there was critical mass interest in from admin side,” Gustafson said.

As the restructuring is implemented, Morey and Olson emphasized that student contact with staff in Student Housing and OCAF would not change.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *