Brooke Hurley (firstname.lastname@example.org)
How should we live together? Or how should we NOT live together? Sharing a room with another individual, whether someone you choose or someone randomly assigned, can be hard. A cramped space, a balance of different schedules, and a lack of alone time, can all be difficult to manage when living with a roommate. Singles have become a hot commodity for both incoming freshmen and current students at Ursinus. Students are hoping for more options for single dorm rooms.
Students across campus have been reaching out to Residence Life asking about opportunities to secure a single. Not only do the lingering effects of COVID-19 make some students uncomfortable living in cramped quarters with other roommates, housemates, and suitemates, so does the accompanying aspect of mental health. Mental health concerns on campus have been a high priority for both Residence Life and the Wellness Center. Alyssa Cafarelli, director of Residence Life, says, “there are medical and mental health impacts that warrant an accommodation for a single room. Accommodations are determined through an interactive process with the Director of Disability Services and will be met at any time, contingent upon room availability.”
Former RA Kaitlyn McGinley shared concerns she faced with her residents. “I saw a lot of people needing singles if their roommates were facing mental health challenges like anxiety and depression. It was hard for them because they did not want to leave their roommates, but at the same time they needed to take care of their own mental health as well.”
For many students, the loud weekends and hustle and bustle of Reimert Hall is not a comfortable living space — and that dorm only offers doubles and multiple suitemates. Although Main Street housing does offer singles, many of the homes are occupied by sports teams or organizations, making it yet another crowded environment.
Housing selection will come around quicker than students expect, and the stress that comes with it is considerable. The number of single rooms available to students at Ursinus is very limited, especially for freshmen. New and North Hall provide a considerable number of single rooms for students.
Emily MacKinnon, Class of 2023, lives in North Hall this year and was lucky enough to have had a lottery number with single achievable status. “I got one really easily on Main Street as a sophomore. I got really frustrated when there were no singles, stand alone or in suites left in New or North for me or my friends even as juniors, even though some of us had some of the top lottery numbers in our class. It is ridiculous that even after three years there still aren’t enough singles to last into the junior class.” With the growing numbers of incoming freshmen and higher demand for singles, Residence Life is facing pressure to create more opportunities for single rooms.
Cafarelli points out an important aspect of Ursinus culture. “Living on campus and in the residence halls, philosophically and educationally, is about living in community with others. Most of our rooms on campus are double rooms, so many of our students explore their own answer to this question by living with a roommate.” More and more students, it seems, are considering other approaches. Residence Life and the Director of Disability Services are in close contact with one another to make living arrangements comfortable for all students.