Securing housing for winter break can be confusing and scary, especially for underclassmen. You live on campus for a large part of the year, creating a home for yourself, and then you’re told to get out without access for about a month.
I remember when I was a first-year student and not wanting to go back to New Jersey but not having any other choice. Staying on campus would cost $25 a night, and I didn’t have a job. I would be denied for any loans to pay for the stay, because I wouldn’t be in school over winter break.
From what I can tell, this sort of situation happens everywhere. Last Tuesday, Inside Higher Ed published an article on students that don’t have a place to go and how colleges are responding to the issue. The article states that “programs to help students pay for housing during the winter months (and to feed them) have become much more common.”
What has Case Western Reserve University been doing? Here is all the information I found on winter housing at CWRU:
A notice from The Daily in 2012, when the cost of winter break housing was $21 per night. It came out on Dec. 20, the date when residence halls closed.
A link to the Guest Housing Application, which seems like it is just for the summer.
A Facebook post by Living at Case Western Reserve University in 2016 when costs rose to $25/night.
That’s it. There may be more, but that was all I could find online after hours of searching. Walking into the Undergraduate Housing office in Thwing did not give me any further answers. They simply gave me business cards of people to contact.
Last semester, students at the Los Angeles location of California State University organized a rally when the university tried to “charge extra” for students staying over winter break. The university announced that the fee would be waived the following week.
Here at CWRU, it feels like this isn’t a problem people are aware of. I live off-campus now, but there are probably others facing similar problems. For students with families who live far away or are in a toxic environment, there are other options, such as subleasing or using Airbnb, both of which can be considerably cheaper.
But despite there being outside options, our school needs to work harder to reach out to students who do not know about winter break housing and let them know their options ahead of time.
Won Hee Kim is a third-year English major with minors in creative writing and economics.