CU surveys students on housing issues ahead of Housing Master Plan

Students in front of Kittredge West (Casey Paul/ CU Independent)

The University of Colorado Boulder hosted an open house event Tuesday afternoon, inviting students as well as faculty and staff to participate in a survey on how CU can better address housing issues.

Facilitated by CU Boulder’s Facilities Management Campus Planning office, the event was an attempt by CU to collect data for the university’s Housing Master Plan, which is expected to run through summer 2019. Described as setting a “vision for the culture of on and off-campus housing, and how this culture supports student success,” the plan is meant to provide students and faculty with “increased housing equity, flexibility and choices” according to CU’s website. This, along with CU’s Transportation Master Plan, are meant to set the stage for the university’s upcoming Campus Master Plan, set to be completed by 2021.

During the open house event, participants were asked questions ranging from their current living status on campus to the quality of the space to preferences for housing and CU’s current housing options. The office of Facilities Management Campus Planning teamed with two firms to conduct the survey, Brailsford & Dunlavey, a program management and development advisory firm, and Ayers Saint Gross, an architectural firm that specializes in master plans and building designs for higher education institutions.

Tom Goodhew, the assistant director of facilities planning, spoke on the challenges of housing in Boulder.

“Everybody realizes that Boulder is a challenging housing market,” Goodhew said. “It comes from pressure from the city, pressure from everybody. It is expensive, and there is not a lot of availability, necessarily.”

Part of Facilities Management Campus Planning‘s mission is to figure out what the real issues are, as well as what can be done to alleviate those issues, according to Goodhew.

Students in attendance at the event said they acknowledge the university’s efforts to alleviate housing stress, but many still face obstacles such as predatory landlords.

“There are resources that CU provides about housing, but I think there is a disconnect between property management and understanding that CU provides a lot of residents that rent for these managers,” junior Annie Huang said. “There are some property managements that have taken advantage of students.”

Huang, who is also a Resident Advisor for Athens North Hall, believes living in an apartment-style dorm helps to better prepare students for when they choose to leave the dorms after their first year. Huang believes students need to be able to not just get along with their roommates but to maintain a clean environment and to share spaces such as a kitchen or bathroom.

Senior Andy Hsu said that finding housing after one’s freshman year can be difficult when faced with high rental prices and competition from other students. For Hsu, the university alone cannot address the issue.

“I think CU could definitely help — I also don’t think it is completely the school’s responsibility,” Hsu said. “I think students definitely have responsibility to look themselves. It’s hard, but CU can’t do everything.”

The university says it is planning to survey as many students as possible through a mass email, which will ask similar questions to the ones during the open house as well as questions that are more “in-depth.” This survey is intended to be released when students return from spring break.  

Contact CU Independent News Staff Writer Paola Mendez Colon at paola.mendezcolon@colorado.edu.

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