Last Monday, students were notified via email that UNM Resident Life and Student Housing would convert multiple double rooms to a three-person capacity in order to meet housing demands.
The halls with rooms that can be converted into triple capacity dorms include Coronado, Hokona, Santa Clara and Alvarado. The exact cost of the rooms were not given by Megan Chibanga – Director of UNM Resident Life and Student Housing. However, students in these rooms will have a reduced rate compared to traditional double rooms, according to Chibanga.
“We are thrilled to have such a high level of interest from students who want to live on campus for the upcoming semester. We want to assure all students that we are diligently working to accommodate as many of them as possible within our housing capacity,” Chibanga said.
Two UNM student employees interviewed by the Daily Lobo, who both wished to remain anonymous, said they were notified at the same time as the students facing new accommodations on Monday, July 10.
The triple capacity rooms will contain a lofted bed and a bunk bed.
“We will also work closely with the students assigned to those rooms to accommodate specific furniture requests that best suit their needs as a group,” Chibanga said.
Installation of the new triple layout has begun, according to both of the anonymous student employees. The first anonymous student employee said they are concerned about the amount of space in the room.
“It is interesting to see where (the residents’) space will be because, as you know, Hokona is very much set up like two individuals, so it’s interesting to see where that third person would put their belongings,” the first student employee said.
Former Hokona resident, Madison Hogans, said she feels that the larger rooms in the hall are still too small for three people. During previous years, she and her roommate had lofted their beds to maximize space, Hogans said.
“The room fits two people not very comfortably. To fit three would be asking too much,” Hogans said.
New Student Orientation leaders are currently waiting to see if the presentations they give to new students will change, the first student employee said. As of publication, the presentations have not been updated; the first student employee said that they hope RLSH will be transparent with new students.
The spread of COVID-19 is a concern, the second anonymous student employee said, because of the triple capacity rooms. They said they felt that the living situations may lead to additional stress for students.
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“I think you’re just overcrowding a room,” the second student employee said. “It’s already stressful enough to live with someone you don’t even know and be rooming with them and then, let alone, you have two people now, and it can really impact a person’s personal time, a person’s mental health and a person’s accessibility to the resources they need.”
The second student employee said that when they have discussed triple capacity rooms with incoming student residents, they are surprised as they were unaware UNM has triple capacity rooms. The second student employee also said they hope for more transparency from RLSH.
In the email sent to students, RLSH offers a release from contract to sign on with Casas del Rio, their private partner. Students can request a room change, which will allow them to change rooms if a space opens, according to Chibanga.
“Our team will address these requests as space becomes available and we are able to reduce the number of students in triple rooms,” Chibanga said.
This decision comes after RLSH announced that housing rates would increase for the 2023-2024 school year.
Marcela Johnson is a freelance reporter for the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at email@example.com or on Twitter @DailyLobo.
Marcela Johnson is a freelance reporter for the Daily Lobo, and the editor-in-chief of Limina: UNM Nonfiction Review.