Increasing Demand for Housing Means Less Space for Residents

By Nami Nagaoka

As the number of students at Youngstown State University rises, student housing is filling up fast. With more students than there is space, frustrations are beginning to occur.

According to Ian Tanner, associate director for residence life, a total of 926 students, including 23 resident assistants, live in the YSU’s resident buildings which include Lyden, Cafaro, Kilcawley, Wick and Weller House.

“There is a lot more excitement on campus, and there’s a demand for housing,” Tanner said.

To meet the rising demand in student housing, the department looked at learning communities, which are student communities based on majors and residence hall.

“Living on campus can change their [college] experience,” Tanner said.

The department of housing planned several events this semester, such as movie nights and free bus rides to football games.

In June, YSU housing started to discuss the rising demand for space and how to address it.

According to Tanner, 24 rooms were expanded this semester; 19 in Lyden and five in Cafaro. After the first week of classes, the number of expanded rooms have been reduced to 12, as students reevaluate their living arrangements or decide to move out.

In Cafaro, a study lounge was transformed into a room for six students. Guest rooms were expanded as well. In Lyden, several double rooms were expanded into triples.

“We are trying to get them back into normal occupancy rooms,” Tanner said. “Expanding the occupancy is only supposed to be temporary.”

This year the housing wait list had the largest amount of students on it, with a total of 52.

“We also made a determination once we had a waitlist to focus on housing our first-year students before our returning students, making sure that those students that get here especially if they were from outside a drivable distance had access as well. Make sure we are prioritizing those students to find a space,” Tanner said.

“We emailed [residences] at the end of July … that there is expanded occupancy and it’s designed to be temporary,” Tanner said.

Davin Hale, Jae-Sung Lim, Son Nyugen Bao, and Anthony Popovitch were assigned to an expanded occupancy room in Cafaro where their room was originally designed for three residents.

Hale, a freshman majoring in mechanical engineering, said he applied for housing and he was waitlisted. He got an email saying that there was a room available but it did not specify that the room was assigned to expanded occupancy.

“I thought there was a regular room open; I wasn’t prepared,” Hale said.

The price for housing is $4,545 for a semester, along with a $200 security deposit.

“I paid the same amount for the room as everybody else … for less accommodation” Hale said.

He shared a dresser and closet with his three other roommates. He couldn’t bring all his belongings due to the restricted space.

He said he is not satisfied with this environment and might move out next semester.

Lim, an exchange student from South Korea majoring in business, said it will be hard to study at night without a desk during midterms and finals weeks.

He said he will request a study area, but it will still be awkward.

“It is a little bit inconvenient, but overall, I am satisfied, I got nice roommates,” he said.

Nguyen Bao, a freshman majoring in economics from Vietnam, said he is not satisfied with the room but would stay since he doesn’t know where to go.

Popovitch, a freshman majoring in accounting, had moved back to his home in Sharon, Pennsylvania last week. He said he wasn’t notified about having three roommates and limited furniture.

“I have anxiety and couldn’t handle it,” Popovitch said. He decided to move back home even though he said he would have initially preferred to live close to campus.

“[The first impression of YSU] was bad because of the housing, but now that I’m commuting I love it,” he said.

He is not planning to come back to live on campus. “I’m saving money staying at home,” Popovitch said.

Hale, Lim, and Nguyen are happy to have each other as roommates but would have wished for better living arrangements to accommodate their needs.