By: Brianna Lopez
Earlier this year, some Barry residents were presented with the news that they would have to live off-campus, at a Best Western hotel approximately 15 minutes away because Barry had run out of dorm rooms.
Director of housing and residence life Matthew Cameron explains why students are currently living in a hotel.
“The university had a capacity of 1,233 beds for the fall 2019 semester,” Cameron said. “As we came into July, we knew that there were not going to be enough beds to house all who were applying.”
While living in a hotel may seem like a luxury compared to a dorm room, Barry students at the Best Western hotel don’t completely agree. Students are forced to take a shuttle bus to and from campus and have issues with meal plans because they are not on campus to eat at the dining hall’s hours of operation.
Sophomore finance major Kimora Brown made it clear that it’s not all rainbows and sunshine at the hotel.
“Living in the hotel isn’t as cool as it seems,” Brown said. “[It] created more stress for both my roommate and I. Living on campus is better because there’s no commute.”
Brown explained that it’s not just her with this problem. According to Brown, approximately 50 students were waitlisted when the dorm rooms became full and told they would be living in a hotel for 30 days. As rooms became available on campus, they were going to be moved back.
However, Brown believes that there is no hope.
“We have been here almost a month now and I have not heard anything from housing,” said Brown.
Cameron said that the university does not currently have a timeline as to when dorm spaces will open on campus.
“However, as they do, we will move students,” said Cameron.
Despite Cameron’s statement, Brown’s frustration is still shared with a lot of other students residing at the hotel mostly because of the commute that has now been added to their schedule.
Sophomore biology pre-vet major Jonadeliz Ramos said that commuting to campus was a nightmare. According to Ramos, students were told that the shuttle bus runs every 30 minutes. Ramos and her roommate expected the shuttle to arrive at 10:30 a.m. to arrive to their on-campus classes.
Unfortunately, this is not what happened.
“After standing outside for 20 minutes, an RA told us the shuttle buses leave the hotel every hour on the hour. This made us both late on our first day,” said Ramos.
Aside from getting to class on time, Ramos explained that the last shuttle from campus that commuted back to the hotel left at 9:30 p.m.
“[This] is extremely inconvenient because the library closes at midnight,” Ramos said. “If I want to study, I have to find my own way back.”
Cameron said that the department has spoken to Barry public safety regarding accommodating the concerns residents have. Cameron also gives students a word of advice in order to help themselves overcome these issues.
“I would advise the students taking the shuttle to ensure they are leaving enough time to ensure they get to class on time,” said Cameron. He also said the shuttle bus service has been extended for when there are “large-scale” events on campus to enable the students to attend campus events scheduled beyond regular shuttle hours.
Despite the student’s concerns about living at the Best Western Hotel, Cameron makes it clear that this was the only solution the university had.
“There was no other possible solution for the fall 2019 semester other than capping housing at what our capacity is and not providing housing to those who were placed in the hotel,” said Cameron.
While it remains unclear when these students will receive on-campus housing assignments, according to Cameron, the university has secured spaces in the hotel for the entirety of the 2019 semester.
Still Cameron assures all residents that there is hope.
“The university ... hopes that we will be able to bring all students on to campus by the spring semester,” said Cameron when asked of the university’s efforts in getting students back in dorm rooms.
Residents like Brown living at the Best Western hotel until further notice would also like to return.
“Truthfully, after all of this frustration, I am anxious to get back on campus,” said Brown.