Friday November 17, 2006
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Students continue to live in triple dorms

http://technique.library.gatech.edu/articleimages/2006-11-17-3-1.jpg

By Jonathan Agee / Student Publications

A student attempts to clean his triple dorm in Folk. Freshmen have adapted to life in the triple dorms despite the cramped space.

By Ranganath Venkataraman Senior Staff Writer

As the semester comes to its conclusion, the future of the "triples", that the Department of Housing was forced to create due to an excessive influx of freshmen will be decided in the course of the next few weeks based on the results of a survey that was sent out to all triple residents.

There are currently slightly less than 156 triples, or three-person rooms, scattered around three residence halls: Towers on East Campus, and Folk and Caldwell which are on West Campus.

Many other options for student housing were explored before tripling became a choice.

"Housing worked with the dean of students, vice provost and the President's Office. Many options were looked at and the best was chosen," said Dan Morrison, assistant director of Housing.

"First-year students should be with other first-year students. Everyone came up with a similar solution," Morrison said.

Housing worked with the triple residents to help alleviate the burdens of living with an extra roommate. To this end, activities were organized that helped to foster community. There were even T-shirts that were designed for triple residents.

"I met a couple of times with Tobias Spears, the Hall Director of Folk and Caldwell. Freshmen were ready to be worked with," Morrison said.

According to Morrison, the residents have adapted well to the situation despite their initial misgivings.

"People have settled in. The residents have done what we asked them to do. They have intentionally kept doors open to create a friendly atmosphere," Morrison said.

According to Morrison, everybody understood that there wasn't much Housing could do, so residents compromised.

"It's gone as well as it could" Morrison said

Morrison added that Peer Leaders (PLs) with triples in those residence halls felt that they had a great community to work with.

As a result of such positive feedback, the Department of Housing is allowing a deviation from their original plan for the spring semester.

It was originally decided that the temporary triple rooms would be un-tripled since Housing decided that they had enough space to allow two to a room. The third person assigned to a room would be asked to move into a new living space.

The survey that is being collected from triple residents will ascertain interest in moving or remaining in a triple.

"If all three residents sign a statement saying that they want to stay together, they can do so," Morrison said. According to Morrison, it is not just triple residents who will be affected. Residents who live in a hall's "flex space" will also be moved, space permitting. Flex space is area in a floor that was previously available for use for the entire floor, but is currently used as residence by three or more residents.

"It's not fair for some floors since all their flex space is occupied" Morrison said.

Residents that are affected by this can go to the Housing web page www.housing.gatech.edu. When asked about Housing's approach to space restriction issues such as these in the future, Morrison said that tripling was still the best option.

"We've always managed to make it work with flex spaces" Morrison said. "In the future, we can react more quickly. Housing, however, will still triple residents as the best option."

Philip Estrada, a second-year Mechanical Engineering major, is a PL in Towers and has two rooms in his section that are triples. Towers is unique because only 18 rooms in the entire residence hall are triples, whereas Folk and Caldwell are completely tripled with a few exceptions. According to Estrada, in one of the triples all three people get along with each other.

"All of them want to stay together. They are very different ethnically, but they get along great," Estrada said.

According to Estrada, in the other triple room, one person is leaving for the Marines and is rarely there. The second guy is quiet and studies a lot. The third guy is in a fraternity and does not like the triple.

"The biggest challenge is getting [the students] to realize that it is not really that bad," Estrada said.

When he learned that he was going to have to live in a triple, Jared Leonard, a first-year Aerospace Engineering major said that he was "pretty pissed at first."

"We are all staying together next semester. We compromised a lot, but everything worked out well," Leonard said.

Greg Andriano, a first-year Aerospace Engineering major, lives in the third floor flex space in Smith Residence Hall. The flex-space residents will be moving out of their spaces to free that space for others on the floor to use.

"We'd generally prefer to stay here," Andriano said.