Housing gripes: a Q&A with UB Campus Living

Director Andrea Costantino addresses common complaints about on-campus housing


Hadley Houck received her housing appointment and noticed that the one-hour window she was assigned to fell in the middle of her class.

Frustrated, Houck realized that as soon as she would be able to choose her housing for next year, a new wave of students would begin their selection process, cutting her off from some options she was interested in.

Houck and other students said they feel the time frame to choose housing is too short.

email: features@ubspectrum.com

Andrew Fitzgerald is a features staff writer and can be reached at features@ubspectrum.com

“I feel like the appointments should be split up into days and not just hours,” Houck, a sophomore linguistics major, said.

Andrea Costantino, director of Campus Living, explained that this is a more flexible time frame than offered in the past. In prior years, if students missed their window of time to select housing, they had to wait until all other appointments were filled to try again. Campus Living’s new policy allows students to choose at any time between their start time and the end of the selection process.

Costantino answered some of student’s most common housing questions to sort through complaints and concerns.

Do students with higher GPAs have housing priority?

Despite the myth that GPA weighs into housing lotteries, Costantino said Campus Living tries to make the process as fair and random as possible.

“The times are assigned based on years or semesters stayed with us [on campus] and then after that, it is based on a random order,” Costantino said.

She said the housing department wants everyone to have an equal opportunity to live where they want.

Campus Living also has forms to request a change in living situation if students are unsatisfied with their assignment. Thousands of students’ locations are changed, according to Costantino.

Why assign students to completely random roommates?

In some cases, students are satisfied with the location they are living in, but unhappy with the person they are living with.

“I wish there was a roommate survey with some kinds of preferences you like,” said David Corradi, a freshman civil engineering major.

Corradi said he feels this would be a better way to match roommates together by allowing students with common interests and habits to live together.

Campus Living said the answer to the classic roommate problem is counter-intuitive.

“Research has shown that we’ve had better success with random individuals,” Costantino said.

Campus Living used personality surveys in the past, but they stopped doing them and found that randomizing roommates resulted in less change requests, she said.

Random roommates often lead to less problems but there are still options when a roommate match goes wrong. Students can request a roommate change in a similar format to requesting housing change.

Why do current freshman have more choices of where to live sophomore year?

“I think it's unfair that current freshman get better housing choices than we did,” said Alby Eapen, a sophomore business administration major.

Eapen feels he should have gotten the choice of living in the Creekside Village apartments for his sophomore year, since the current freshman get that choice.

Costantino said these freshman only have more options because they are the largest ever freshman class and traditional freshman room and board couldn’t accommodate all of them.

She explained 4,000 students have already been accepted and intend to come to UB in the fall. Due to this large number of students, the university had to open up half of the Creekside Village apartments to the upcoming sophomore class in addition to the sophomore-restricted Greiner Hall.

Why is it so hot in the Ellicott dorming complexes right now?

Students have complained about the heat in Ellicott Complex and said the last few weeks are “almost unbearable.”

“It was always too hot or too cold in Ellicott. I had to use a portable heater all winter and I could never adjust the thermostat to make it cooler in August,” Eapen said.

The buildings were built in the 1970s with no air conditioners, since Buffalo weather is typically cool or cold. Campus Living hasn’t installed any into the dorms since.

Costantino said the best way to battle the heat during those few weeks is to open the windows to allow for greater airflow.

Andrew Fitzgerald is a features staff writer and can be reached at features@ubspectrum.com