Student health issues and Happy Bus routes were discussed in a meeting with off-campus housing locations in late March.
David Wilmes, associate provost for student success, has held a number of meetings with off-campus housing, including The Heights, The Ivy, and the Grove. Owners of houses which are rented to students were also represented.
Wilmes said the rationale for discussing Happy Bus routes were due to parking issues in the fall, where it was clear that many of those issues could be reduced if more students used the Happy Bus. Wilmes said most students were more willing to use it, but there was too much of a gap between stops.
According to Wilmes, SGA hasn’t looked at routes for some time.
“We wanted to help them out to get a sense of where people are living and what the numbers are,” Wilmes said. “We asked how many residents [off-campus areas] have and the plotted it out on a map to see if we’re serving them and if there’s a way to structure the routes to make more frequent stops at the complexes that have the most students.”
Wilmes said a decision hasn’t been made yet, with only the information being collected. Landlords have been very supportive though, with many wanting more use of the Happy Bus since some complexes contribute money to help pay for it.
Renee Bateman, health promotion coordinator, also presented on student health topics, including stress, alcohol and mental health. Wilmes said this presentation came about to inform landlords who were asking for more information on what was going on with students, with the topics being decided since it impacts off-campus residents just as much as on-campus residents.
Another topic that was discussed was leasing dates, which has been brought up to Wilmes in the past.
“Since I started here two years ago I have heard over and over complaints from students about start dates,” Wilmes said. “They graduate in May and have to figure out what they’re going to do for two months afterwards or we have a lot of complexes that won’t let you move in until August 20.”
Wilmes said he has been trying to relay that concern to landlords and provided them with lists of students who have to come to campus early.
“We have people who have to be here and they can’t move into their apartment,” Wilmes said.
The next meeting is scheduled for Oct. 23 and Wilmes said the relationship has improved considerably since the first meeting in Fall 2017.
“It’s improved a lot,” Wilmes said. “I now have a relationship with many of the landlords and complexes that I can call them with concerns. The idea is that we want to be their partners.”