Approximately 85 percent of continuing students who applied to live in Poly Canyon Village (PCV) for the 2017-2018 academic year will have to live in two-person bedrooms with bunk beds, according to University Housing.
Those numbers are subject to change because typically hundreds of continuing students who plan to live in PCV back out over the summer and decide to live elsewhere.
There are two factors for this change: increased interest in on-campus housing from continuing students and a record number of students entering the university as first-time freshmen, according to Jo Campbell, Cal Poly’s assistant vice president for Student Affairs and executive director of University Housing.
“A lot more people want to live on campus, which is great, so it makes us look at our whole footprint and how do we fit everybody in,” Campbell said.
New residence halls under construction on Grand Avenue, across from the Sierra Madre and Yosemite residence halls, are scheduled to open their doors to students Fall 2018.
“It’s really unfortunate that this new housing going up on Grand [Avenue] isn’t open this fall because that would be perfect,” Campbell said.
Freshmen students are required to live in on-campus housing unless granted an exception for special circumstances. Next year, an estimated 5,200 freshmen will call Cal Poly home.
There will still be a transfer student community in PCV.
“So it’s a short term problem just for this coming year: what do we do to get all these students who really want to live on campus, on campus?” Campbell said.
Many apartments will be converted from single-suite, four-bedroom apartments to six-person suites where three of the bedrooms have bunk beds and the fourth bedroom is converted into a study space with desks.
“Yes, you might be in a bunk bed room, but the bedrooms in PCV are pretty large,” Campbell said. “You have a study room in your apartment. Isn’t that great? And then you still have space to have a living area.”
When University Housing realized how high their demand was, they partnered with Mustang Village, an off-campus housing community for students off of Foothill Boulevard. Students who originally signed up to live in PCV can opt for housing in Mustang Village and University Housing will foot the bill for the application fee. University Housing will also cover the $25 difference for the Mustang Village parking pass.
“If you really wanted a private bedroom — that was really in your heart of hearts of what you wanted to do — here’s an option,” Campbell said.
Additionally, students who no longer wish to live in PCV will receive a full refund of their housing deposits.
Selections will begin on a first-come, first-serve basis starting July 11. Students with disabilities registered through the Disability Resource Center will register first, followed by students in the order they applied for housing.
When students originally applied to PCV, they did not apply for a specific suite type or occupancy.
“If you already told us you want to live here, you still can, absolutely,” Campbell said. “In Poly Canyon Village, we are going to put more double-suites in.”
Biochemistry freshman Megan Miyake originally planned to live in a four-bedroom apartment in PCV with three friends. Since receiving news of the overcrowding, Miyake and her friends have decided to live off-campus.
“Really, I’m more upset that they told us seven weeks into spring quarter,” Miyake said. “If they warned us ahead of time, it wouldn’t be as bad.”
English freshman Natalie Young felt the same way.
“I think it is unfair of Cal Poly to have waited until week seven of spring quarter to make this announcement, especially because most off-campus housing is no longer available,” Young said.
With the current enrollment, Aliso and Buena Vista will solely house freshmen. In the past, freshmen lived in Gypsum, one of the structures toward the back. However, Campbell and her team thought Gypsum could be too geographically isolated for new students trying to assimilate into a new social environment.
“Aliso and Buena Vista are in the plaza right around where all the food is; we thought that’ll feel a little less stressful for first-year students,” Campbell said.
Overall, Campbell remains optimistic that the university can offer quality housing to its students, despite a growing student population and desire to live on campus after freshman year.
“It’s going to be tight, but we’re committed to students who really want to be here,” Campbell said. “We want them to be here.”