Though the start of the semester marks most students’ first time on campus since May, many students remained in Princeton over the summer, conducting research or working at other on-campus jobs. The vast majority of students remaining in Princeton in the summer stay in dormitories, as other housing is expensive and in short supply. Though the availability of this option makes remaining in Princeton easier, the Editorial Board believes that the summer housing system could better accommodate students staying on campus over the summer, especially considering that summer housing students are working at the University or participating in University-related programs. In particular, the Board recommends that students be given greater access to air-conditioned rooms, as well as the option to remain on campus through the start of the school year.
Since students must seek department approval as part of the application for summer housing, those who stay in dorms are always on campus for programs sponsored or sanctioned by the University. Several departments, notably molecular biology and chemistry, allow and even encourage students to remain on campus over the summer to conduct thesis research. Several Princeton-sponsored internship programs, including research fellowships and the Princeton Environmental Institute’s internship program, require participants to remain on campus as well. Further, some athletes remain on campus to train for the upcoming school year and to work campus jobs to pay for housing. Given that University programs facilitate these students’ presence on campus, the Editorial Board believes that the University should take more efforts to accommodate these students.
Despite the hot New Jersey summers, most students on campus are not offered rooms with air-conditioning. The Manager of Undergraduate Housing, Angela Hodgeman, explained in correspondence with the Board that Housing and Real Estate Services determines the rooms students can use after Conference and Events Services allocates rooms to various summer programs. Hodgeman further stated that there was “limited air-conditioned space” on campus, making it impossible to accommodate summer students. While the Board understands that not all students would be able to access air-conditioned rooms, we believe that the University should value its students over guests who use the campus over the summer. Summer housing could expand the number of rooms offered in Bloomberg Hall, as well as offer students the chance to live in Whitman College and other Butler College buildings, all of which are air-conditioned.
Another problem summer residents face is the time between the end of summer housing and the start of the school year. Given that it is financially prohibitory to travel home for some students, many have resorted to temporarily living in eating clubs or, in one case, living out of a car. Hodgeman explains that summer housing ends on or before Aug. 15 for all programs to allow for the “vast turnover process” that takes place before the school year. However, the Board suggests that students be allowed to live in their upcoming school year room in the summer or at least for the last part of August, preventing the need for any turnover in that room. This would further solve the other expensive issue for students who live on campus over the summer: short-term storage. The only currently available option is the Moving and Storage Agency’s short-term storage solution, which charges $20 per box, almost twice the cost of storing for the entire summer.
While the Board understands the need for the University to provide housing to participants of summer programs, we believe that the University should continue its long-standing tradition of focusing on its undergraduates by giving them priority when summer rooms are allocated and by allowing students to remain on campus until the start of classes.