As many students are trying to secure on-campus housing for the next academic year, this board would like to offer some suggestions for the Department of Community Living regarding the current student housing system to streamline the user experience and make it less stressful for students.

University housing currently operates under a lottery system where students with lower housing numbers get to pick a room first. This is consistent with many other schools in the area. However, the housing number release was delayed this semester. This caused a tremendous amount of stress for many students. This board calls for the University to initiate the housing selection process sooner next year so students will not have to be forced to find housing groups while dealing with end-of--year projects and exams.

On-campus housing is currently not guaranteed for upperclassmen. While this board is aware of the limited on-campus housing space,other universities in the area and around the country are providing subsidized, university-maintained, off-campus housing for students who have failed to secure on-campus housing. This board calls for the University to explore a similar model in the future. This solution will help students secure safe and reliable off-campus housing. It will also help students to avoid the high realtor fee associated with renting many off-campus apartments.

This board also calls on the University to improve its policies surrounding housing accommodations. Students whose accommodations require a kitchen, for example, should have access to an en-suite kitchen. We also encourage the University to keep an open mind about what disabilities and accommodations can look like, and be sensitive to the fact that students with disabilities often take on the burden of advocating for themselves. 

At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Student Union maintained a list of sublets and roommate requests posted by Brandeis community members. Many students benefited from this platform as it was a convenient way to find housing listings rather than hunting for housing on social media platforms. This board would like to call for the Student Union to resurrect the list this semester, as it will help many students secure summer and fall housing before the semester ends.

This board would also like to offer students who are interested in forming housing groups, on or off campus, some tips to make the process easier for all parties involved. First of all, be respectful to other students while negotiating to form a housing group. Communicate your living habits such as bedtime, noise tolerance, and tidiness to your potential roommates as early as possible. This will help get everyone on the same page when making a decision on whether to group together for housing. 

Second, should you decide to change your mind about housing with someone, make sure to communicate with them as soon as possible. For those who decide to live off campus, make sure that everyone is on the same page about the  legal and financial obligations behind signing a lease. 

This board would like to wish everyone the best of luck during housing selection. We look forward to seeing some of our suggestions being implemented as policy changes by the University in the future. 

—Editor’s note: Editor Cameron Cushing ’23 is a Community Advisor. He did not contribute to or edit this article.