They have got their books and their schedules but more than 200 Texas Tech students still do not have a place to call home. It is a record breaking year for enrollment at Tech with some 27,000 students signed up. The high numbers are good, but the struggle is finding living space.
It has happened the last few years at Texas Tech, the beginning of another semester and more students than their are dorms. "We had a higher return rate from last fall and of course the freshman class is much larger than it's been in previous years," said Assistant Vice-President for Student Affairs James Burkhalter.
Burkhalter says that is why about 200 students are in the University Plaza, across from campus or in study lounges. That is the case for students like Carrye Spoonts and Megan Sturdivant. "I'm in a temporary housing on the 12th floor of Chitwood and it is a study lounge with four girls in here. I don't have a closet, I don't have any storage space, and I don't have any water in my room," Carrye Spoonts, a dormless Freshman.
Carrye turned in her application to live in the dorms late in the Spring, she says it is tough because there are four girls in the room and they have no privacy. "I am frustrated that if you're going to force freshman to live on campus you need to be able to house them all and there's not enough room for everybody," Spoonts said.
Megan says it is fun to have such a big room, but tough not to have room for her things. "I didn't even bring what I wanted to bring, I couldn't bring much because they told us someone could break in you don't know so that's probably the hardest thing because I don't have my stuff," Megan Sturdivant, a dormless Freshman said.
Megan and Carrye do not know when they will be moving into real rooms, but for now they have decorated their lounge as home sweet home, just waiting to pack it all up and move again. "Just the temporary nature of it and having to kinda live out of a suitcase for a few days, most of them that are in our lounges should be moved into a temporary assignment in the next few weeks," Burkhalter said.
Every semester there are a number of students that do not show up, so the plan is to figure out what rooms are missing students then fill in those gaps. In the big picture more housing is needed on campus, Burkhalter says their master plan includes possibly building three more dorms, but that would take another three years to afford and build.