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SGA, RHA form group to address housing registration concerns

File Photo by Daniel Heuer | Assistant Photo Editor
The entrance to Mabel Nelson Thurston Residence Hall on F Street.

The Student Government Association and the Resident Hall Association created a housing working group late last month to address challenges students faced with securing on-campus housing for the upcoming year.

SGA President Ethan Fitzgerald said he developed the group — which will consist of 15 representatives from the SGA, the RHA and the student body — because this spring officials placed rising sophomores on housing registration waitlists despite them being guaranteed housing for the upcoming academic year. Fitzgerald said the group aims to increase transparency about the housing application process and elevate students’ concerns to officials by communicating directly with Seth Weinshel, the associate vice president of business services, who’s responsible for housing at GW. 

“Students who were promised housing didn’t get that, and it was really disappointing and that leaves a lot of stress for students and people who are still trying to figure out what to do,” Fitzgerald said. “We thought we needed to make sure this doesn’t happen again moving forward.” 

SGA and RHA leaders will accept applications for students to join the group until Monday.

After officials released housing assignments in April, students circulated a petition, which garnered more than 1,400 signatures, expressing their dissatisfaction with residence hall assignments and the housing waitlist. Weinshel said in 2022 that officials place between 100 and 300 students on the housing waitlist each year. 

In an April email to The Hatchet, former Campus Living Director Dan Wright said officials consider students’ roommate groups and building preferences when issuing housing assignments, but every year more students prefer certain buildings and room styles than are available. He said all rising sophomores placed on the waitlist will receive an on-campus housing assignment, adding that officials would honor building and room type preferences when moving students off the waitlist “to the greatest extent possible.” 

In the same email, Wright declined to say how many students officials placed on the waitlist in April and how many students applied for housing this year compared to last year. 

Officials also placed rising juniors on the waitlist, but juniors are not guaranteed housing since officials dropped the on-campus residency requirement in January 2023.

Fitzgerald said the representatives from the SGA, the RHA and the student body will provide “active feedback” on current concerns about housing arrangements like room renewals and transparency regarding the waitlist. 

“You do not need to be in the SGA to serve on a housing working group,” Fitzgerald said. “Every student has experience with housing, or virtually every student, so everyone has a right to serve on a group like this.” 

Fitzgerald said the group will meet to discuss issues related to the housing application process and room renewal policies. He said the group will begin meeting twice a month at the start of the school year to discuss how they can provide students with more information about housing registration and collaborate with the administration to increase communication about housing processes. 

“I want to get these things figured out as soon as possible so we can be upfront with the students about what housing is going to look like moving forward and so we can be more transparent about the process,” Fitzgerald said. 

RHA President Andrew Levin said Weinshel will serve as the group’s advisor and discuss how students’ recommendations can impact the process.  

Levin said he hasn’t seen evidence that housing assignments or waitlists were worse this year than in previous years, but the group will use students’ disappointments with this year’s process as a starting point to discuss solutions ahead of the next housing registration period. Levin said the group plans to meet up until the next registration period in spring 2025, with the potential to continue meeting afterward.

He said he also wants the group to help increase communication between administrators and students on the housing waitlist, particularly regarding when students can expect to receive a housing assignment and their likelihood of getting one. Levin said he has spoken to Weinshel and Campus Living and Residential Education staff who told him officials have moved hundreds of students off of the waitlist so far, but that there might have been other ways to mitigate students’ housing issues this year.  

“There are so many different factors that can be specific to different years,” Levin said. “But the group will definitely be thinking about what happened this past year as kind of a jumping off point.”

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About the Contributor
Rory Quealy, News Editor
Rory Quealy is a sophomore majoring in journalism and mass communications from La Grange, Illinois. She leads the Metro beat as one of The Hatchet's 2024-25 news editors. She was previously the assistant news editor for the Health and Research beat and a research assistant.
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