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Vol 39  No 1
Aug. 10, 2006


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A place called home

Memorial moves to help students find suitable off-campus housing

By Jeff Green

Wayne Walsh and Allison Stamp are the new off-campus housing co-ordinators at Memorial. They’ll work with students to help them find a place to live in the St. John’s area.

A new pilot project has been launched on Memorial’s St. John’s campus to help students find appropriate housing accommodations off campus.

For the first time ever, two off-campus housing co-ordinators have been hired to assist post-secondary students attending Memorial locate a place to live.

A bed crunch on the St. John’s campus has meant more students have been forced to find an apartment away from the university.

The new pilot project, though, will help alleviate some of the demand on Memorial for housing, said Christine Burke, director of Housing, Food and Conference Services.

As of Aug. 1, there were 370 students on the wait list for on-campus accommodations in Paton College.

Ms. Burke said the two off-campus housing co-ordinators will work with these students to sort through the process of locating a place to rent ­ anything from an apartment or bedsitting room to a house to rent or share.

Off-campus housing refers to accommodations not owned and operated by the university.

Currently, about 2,800 students have applied for on-campus housing at both Paton College, which can house roughly 980 students in 10 dorms, and Burton’s Pond Apartments, a residential complex located at the eastern end of the St. John’s campus, that houses about 512 students.

Ms. Burke said she the university is committed to helping students who don’t secure on-campus accommodations find an appropriate place to live.

“Given that we knew we could not have new residences built by the fall, we felt it would be beneficial if we upgraded our off-campus housing offering to our students,” she said. “This is a pilot project and we needed to start somewhere.”

Allison Stamp and Wayne Walsh were hired July 4. Both are responsible for helping students locate a suitable place to live, perform off-site visits to verify landlord offerings and update office files. Mr. Walsh is also helping develop content and update the Off-Campus Housing website. Listings of accommodations are posted on the site for students to view.

The new pilot project is a good move, said Dr. Lilly Walker, dean of student affairs and services. She said as the university attracts more students, off-campus housing will play a vital role in ensuring students have suitable places to live.

“Because we do not have enough residence spaces available on campuses, these positions are especially important for us in reaching out to serve these students so that they choose to come to Memorial,” she said. “We want to do all we can to assist students in their search for housing that fits their needs.”

Students interested in learning more about off-campus housing can contact either Mr. Walsh or Ms. Stamp at 737-3765 or och@munhousing.ca or visit the off-campus housing website www.munhousing.ca/housing-services/och

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