SRU’s associate provost for student success, David Wilmes, met with many off-campus apartments and property owners on Oct 3 to discuss issues that students have.
Issues discussed included move-in dates, recycling, towing/booting, transportation and parking. Complexes represented there included University Village, The Heights, The Grove, South Rock and Stonecrest.
This was the second meeting Wilmes had with the complexes and owners, with the first occurring last spring.
Wilmes said he heard from numerous students who expressed wanting to be able to move into their respective housing earlier, to participate in sports, band or a job.
Students also showed interest in increased recycling at their apartments, with SGA’s commuter senators bringing the issue to Wilmes.
“What was interesting about that was the large complexes said it’s hard for them to do recycling because what happens is people throw their trash in the recycling so it’s costly for them (apartments),” Wilmes said. “They said they’ve tried it and it’s failed so they’re not really interested in bringing it back.”
Wilmes also brought up the matter of towing and booting of students in various off-campus parking areas, with some students telling Wilmes it’s a “scam”.
“The other feedback from students has been that there’s no real system in place so you’re just there and you see this van pull up and they put a boot on your car,” Wilmes said. “I shared with them those concerns and complaints and they did not specifically have any sort of response to those comments.”
The ongoing issue of parking and transportation was also brought up at the meeting by Wilmes.
“This year is pretty stressful with parking, it’s pretty tight,” Wilmes said. “We’ve had some initial conversations with student government and some other folks about what we’re going to do in the future, because our enrollment is growing and currently every student can bring a car, purchase a pass, and there’s no difference between pass costs. The reality is that if we do anything to limit parking on campus, we have to at the same time work on transportation.”
Wilmes said this issue is increased by the Happy Bus not running late into the night, with some students not wanting to walk to class due to having to walk home in the dark. Overall, Wilmes said the meetings have been achieving their goal, which is to have an open line of communication from the campus to the off-campus apartments and landlords.
“My viewpoint for all of these complexes is that they’re (the residents) all Slippery Rock students, so we have a vested interest in making sure that you as an off-campus resident have a good experience there,” Wilmes said. “We’re not responsible for that experience but we can at least advocate, request and share the information so that it makes a better living environment for our students. They seem to appreciate it when we do that.”
To that end, Wilmes said the university will be hosting some of the large complexes in the ballroom on Tuesday Oct. 18 in the Smith Student Center ballroom. The university will provide a list of questions students should ask when considering signing a lease, with Wilmes working with commuter senators to develop a list of what the questions should be.
Wilmes said this would help students compare and contrast, unlike when some complexes visit campus during common hour to inform students on their options.
“It’s another thing if you have a list of questions and you go to each table,” Wilmes said. “Then you can kind of find out things like what complexes require a deposit, what apartments allow you to move in early. There’s a lot of differences and I think it’s important to know what those differences are so you can make the best choice yourself.”