Think small to save big in residence

Students seeking cheaper residence options enter lottery system for one of 78 spots

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Image by: Justin Tang

This year, Queen’s Housing and Hospitality are continuing to offer ‘economy’ double-occupancy rooms. Students admitted into residence are offered an opportunity to save up to 50 per cent on their housing costs if they agree to spend the year with a roommate in what was designed as a single room.

Ryan Mulligan, Sci ’14, moved into his ‘economy double’ in Victoria Hall last Saturday. He said the price was a large factor when deciding to sign up for the lottery.

“I [did it]…to save some money and I didn’t think it’d be that bad,” he said, adding that his parents were supportive of his decision.

“I’m paying for my own university expenses, so they didn’t really mind,” he said. They’ve seen the room and they really liked it.”

The rooms are large single rooms that were converted into double rooms, usually by placing bunk beds or adding a loft bed over the work desk. The issue is that the rooms can vary in size.

Mulligan said he got lucky with his room and that while some people are feeling overcrowded, his experience in the room is going really well.

“I have more space than some other people who have single rooms because my room is in the C-wing,” he said. “But for some [other] people, their rooms are a little cramped.” As one of 10 people on his floor in an “economy double” on his floor, Mulligan said that he has no reservations about the arrangement.

“It’d be nice to fit more people in the room but it’s still good. You can fit maybe 15 to 20 people in here,” he said.

Bruce Griffiths, Director of Housing and Hospitality Services told the Journal via e-mail that there are currently 39 rooms (78 bed spaces) that are part of this program.

Griffiths said 133 students applied to the lottery this year, down from 198 in 2009 and 208 in 2008. Roughly 70 spots were available—the same number as last year.

“We used the lottery because there were more students than spaces,” he said, adding that applicants were sent an e-mail during the summer asking if they were interested in a sharing a single room.

“We then [took] all the names of those who respond[ed] and ran a lottery,” he said. “I can’t speak specifically to the reason for the popularity but my sense is that a 50 per cent fee reduction is attractive to some of our students.”

Because students in these rooms pay $5,250 each, instead of $10,500, Queen’s doesn’t make additional profit from them.

Griffiths said that there are currently no plans to expand the program.

“Because the rooms are originally large singles, there are a limited number of rooms where we feel this arrangement will work effectively,” he said.

Since the program began three years ago, Griffiths said there have been very few complaints. The double-occupancy rooms are now in Victoria Hall, Morris Hall, Gordon Hall and Leonard Hall residences.

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