All Posts Tagged With: "housing"
Financial planners suggest skipping student residences
TORONTO – Many university students recall the rambunctious pub nights, late-night cram sessions and laundry-strewn dorm rooms of campus life with nostalgic fondness. But this cultural rite of passage can be pricey.
Erin Andrews, 22, said living away from home — including three years in residence and one year in off-campus housing — has added almost $20,000 to her debt load.
But the fourth-year kineseology major at Memorial University in Newfoundland has no regrets.
“It was definitely worth it,” said Andrews, who describes the friends she met in residence as a “super big family.”
“If you like becoming independent and making new friends and want to have the full university experience, I think residence should definitely be included.”
Students report rental fraud from Halifax to Calgary
When Adam Michaleski decided to move from Manitoba to Calgary after graduating from Brandon University this spring, he didn’t expect to lose $1,300 and a place to live. But a fake landlord he found on Kijiji who showed him around a nice place took his e-transfer for a damage deposit and then disappeared without a trace.
Rental fraud is a widespread problem for students. A landlord in Halifax recently made off with more than $10,000 after scamming at least 30 people out of their cash, reported CBC Nova Scotia. While the police caught that perpetrator, who pleaded guilty, many cases go unresolved.
Dana Drover, who investigates financial fraud for the Halifax Regional Police, says it’s important for renters to leave a paper trail. If the landlord is paid with a cheque instead of cash or e-transfer, “there’s solid evidence that the money left the account and landed in the account of the recipient.” The two peak periods for rental scams are when students come to university in the fall and when they leave in the spring, he says. A telltale sign of fraud is a landlord who seems rushed, he adds.
Hugh Podmore knows what he wants in a roommate
Hugh Podmore is moving from Montreal to Toronto to start his master’s degree in Earth and Space Science at York University this fall. Like most students, he began his roommate search with an ad on the classified site Craigslist. Unlike most students, he spent four hours putting it together.
His comedic stop-motion film paid off. The ad was posted to Reddit and shared on Twitter and at least 30 people in Toronto’s tight student housing market replied. He’s also had countless offers of friendship from Torontonians and some from Italians too (a local news site picked up the story).
As you can see from the ad below, he’s doesn’t smoke, keeps things clean, is “quiet but social” and socially open-minded. Still, he was having trouble finding the right place before he posted the film. “I sent out a bunch of e-mails to convey a sense of my personality and what I thought was important in a roommate but I didn’t feel that I was really getting the message across,” he says. “The pictures were a way to say, hey, this is who I am, this is what I’m like, if this appeals to you, get in touch.”
Podmore is thrilled at the response. “Everyone’s really helpful and eager to help me get settled in this new city which is really incredibly nice,” he says. He’s seems nice too: “I will be walking around Toronto all of the next three days, so if people see me on the street, come say hi,” he says.
Students in Calgary, where flooding has exacerbated a shortage of rentals, should definitely watch.
Neighbours worry about 16 students next door
A single-family dwelling in Ottawa is in the process of being converted to a three-storey monster house for 16 people. The home on Aylmer Ave., near Carleton University, will likely house students.
That project will go ahead, but in a surprise move on April 30, the city approved a temporary bylaw banning new applications for such conversions in the areas around Carleton and the University of Ottawa. The law could last up to a year, giving the city time to decide on new standards.
The sudden moratorium on new monster houses shows the tension between neighbours in single-family homes and the growing number of Ottawa post-secondary students looking for housing in their peaceful neighbourhoods.
Five things students are talking about today (February 25th)
1. Maclean’s Jessica Allen has captured the Oscars in 33 Tweets, but if you’re looking for an even shorter summary, here’s what people are talking about. Jennifer Lawrence, the 22-year-old lead in Silver Linings Playbook, got great reviews for her billowy Dior gown, but managed to trip in it while accepting her Best Actress award. Kristen Stewart, also 22, limped onto the stage to present an award—she’d apparently cut her foot on broken glass—and looked very Lindsay Lohan. Argo won Best Picture and Ben Affleck thanked Canada. Ang Lee won Best Director for Life of Pi and also thanked Canadians. William Shatner’s opening sketch predicting bad reviews for Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane’s hosting turned out to be prescient. I thought he was funny but many criticized him today for his tasteless jokes. He did says says word “boobs” dozens of times, but at least he didn’t call 9-year-old Best Actress nominee Quvenzhané Wallis the c-word, which the satirical Onion did.
2. An attempt to impeach the president of the Commerce Society at Dalhousie University after he was found smoking marijuana in a hotel room at a Dal-hosted convention has failed, reports the Dalhousie Gazette. Unprofessional as it was, a majority of students are apparently willing to forgive.
3. Here’s a great gift idea for your depressed roommate on a budget. The Anti-Loneliness Ramen Bowl is a new form of dinnerware “that lets you place your iPhone at the perfect angle to watch videos or talk with friends over Skype and FaceTime,” explains Ishmael Daro on The Albatross. “Created by Japanese design firm MisoSoupDesign, these bowls are meant for the overlapping segment of a venn diagram for “nerdy” and “sad.” The company’s biggest mistake, however, is assuming that anyone who buys an iPhone-ready bowl has friends to talk to,” he writes.
4. A new company called NOMAD Housing says its goal is to supply Vancouver students with 100 square-foot two-story homes fully equipped with living rooms, bedrooms, bathrooms and kitchens, reports The Ubyssey. Although I’m skeptical they can make them that small, as graduate of the University of British Columbia who paid $800 for a basement, I know the demand is there.
5. Today is the beginning of the long-awaited Quebec education summit that the Parti Quebecois promised after months of anti-tuition protests. Maclean’s columnist Paul Wells has read the Quebec media and was “struck by a recurring theme in French-language commentary.” He’s talking about “the feats of ingenuity being expended to justify giving McGill University less public money.” Although student political groups will mostly be watching to see how little the Parti Quebecois government will make them pay—my guess is they’ll stick with the current $2,200 plus inflation—Wells points out that some academics see this as an opportunity to beat up on English universities.
The fights, the tears, and the desperation in Toronto
I’m standing in a shoebox -sized room with six other students, fighting over who gets to live in it.
The landlord stands back and watches. He is caught off guard by the number of people who turned up for the viewing and can’t decide who to give the keys to. So, he asks us to figure it out amongst ourselves.
Negotiations haven’t been going very smoothly.
“I’ll sign the contract,” says a female Brazilian exchange student.
“Ok,” the landlord answers.
“No,” screams another girl. “That’s not fair. I want to sign too.”
“I’m willing to pay more,” says Mike, a scraggly hipster I’ve seen at previous viewings.
London shooting, Regina theft and Toronto mega-project
1. Students at Western University in London, Ont. had their homecoming weekend marred by the shooting death of 21-year-old Terrell Johnson off-campus early Sunday. A 28-year-old man was also taken to hospital. Joshua Carter, 22, is charged with second-degree murder.
2. Hannim Nur, the student who resigned from her post as president of the University of Regina’s Students’ Union (URSU), did so because she stole $700 of student money from the Canadian Federation of Students Saskatchewan by forging signatures on cheques when she was Chair. A statement from CFS-S says that the money was repaid and that they’ve updated procedures to reduce the chance of it happening again. Questions remain as to why Nur continued to work at URSU after she admitted the forgery to CFS.
3. A proposed mega-development on King Street in Toronto will house a whole lot of people in three 80-story condo towers. It will also include two museums and facilities for nearby OCAD University. The design is by Frank Gehry and the funding is from theatre king David Mirvish. Tweeters have compared the design to a tipped-over recycling bin, but Edward Keenan of The Grid points out that Gehry’s early sketch of the now-loved Art Gallery of Ontario once raised eyebrows too.
Roommate killed himself after Ravi broadcast gay tryst
Former Rutgers University student Dharun Ravi was motivated by anti-gay bias when he used a webcam to broadcast his freshman roommate’s intimate encounter with another man live to fellow students, a New Jersey jury has decided. Ravi, 20, was convicted of the hate-crime “bias intimidation,” which means he will go to jail for five to 10 years and he may even be deported to his native India. Tyler Clementi, Ravi’s gay freshman roommate, committed suicide after the humiliating webcam ordeal in September, 2010. Before his death, Clementi asked his university to allow him to switch rooms because of the spying. Ravi was found guilty of 24 charges but not guilty in 11 charges and will be sentenced on May 21, reports NorthJersey.com.
How to deal with a roommate who’s the polar opposite
By Rosemary Counter.
A decade ago, which might as well be a century in technology years, Michelle Titus was like many ﬁrst-year university students: away from home, stuck in a “teeny tiny, horrible” room, and living with a complete stranger she couldn’t stand.
In her defence, it was a bad match from the start. Titus was popular and outgoing, the soon-to-be relationship columnist at the University of Waterloo’s student paper. Her roommate was an introvert who’d wishfully described herself on her application as a “social butterﬂy.” “On paper, we should have been the best of friends,” says Titus, now 30. In real life, following some drama worthy of Mean Girls, they were estranged by the end of the year.
Opinion: high-density housing near campus makes sense
A developer hoping to provide students with much-needed housing directly across from the entrance to the University of Guelph got tired of waiting for the city to decide on its proposal.
Abode Varsity Living was so tired, in fact, that it appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board to make the decision instead, reports the Guelph Mercury.
Good for the developer, I say. The site at the corner of Gordon St. and Stone Rd., a five minute walk to the University Centre, couldn’t be a better place to build a large student housing complex.
High-density housing near campus is much better for students than low-density suburbia, which is the increasingly common option in Guelph. Besides, the needs of 20,000 students should trump the demands of roughly 20 NIMBY neighbours.
But Carleton student fights back
A condo board in Ottawa passed a rule in October that essentially outlawed students from renting in their building, because it required renters to be families, common-law or otherwise intending to live together permanantly. But Carleton University student Nicholas McLeod has collected enough signatures to force a vote on the ruling, which could overturn it at the annual general meeting at the Southgate Road building on Dec. 6. according to Metro News.
Sues university for negligence
An American student who fell asleep drunk and woke up paralyzed after falling more than a metre from his dorm room bunk bed is now suing his school, Fordham University in the Bronx. Kei Usami, 20, smashed his head so hard that he fractured his spine, according to a the New York Post. His suit alleges the university was negligent for failing to put guardrails on the bed. The former tennis player is now in a wheelchair. He says his goal is to walk again by the time he graduates in 2013.
Vindication for residence management at Alberta
There was high demand for alcohol-free and quiet floors at a University of Alberta residence that decided to offer them for the first time this year. That result seems to vindicate residence management, whose consultation process was criticized last year by the Lister Hall Student’s Association, reports The Gateway.
Among applicants to Lister Hall, 24 per cent requested an alcohol-free floor and 46 per cent requested a quiet floor. That’s similar to what Residence Services predicted using their consultation process, which included a survey that found 51 per cent of the 302 residents surveyed last year would opt for a quiet floor and 19 per cent would live on an alcohol-free floor. The process began after residence management noticed a great number of people were leaving Lister in the first semester and suspected it might be due to rowdy weekend nights. Then-LHSA-President Dustin Edwards suggested there were likely other reasons for the exodus.
Convict told police she was inspired by Wedding Crashers
Luciana Reichel, 22, received 30 months of probation and 90 days in jail from a judge on Wednesday for poisoning her roommate in their dorm room at the University of Wisconsin, reports the Appleton Post-Crescent.
Reichel told police that the 2005 movie Wedding Crashers had inspired her to drip Visine eye drops into her roommate’s water bottle for months on end. She told them it was a prank. In Wedding Crashers, Owen Wilson’s character puts eye drops into a glass of wine to make Bradley Cooper’s character ill.
Reichel’s victim experienced nausea, diarrhea and lost appetite from the drops.
Residences are full. Courses are too. Welcome to first year.
On your first day of class, you could find yourself scanning the room for an empty seat.
The University of Regina has grown by 11 per cent this year. The University of British Columbia (Okanagan) has grown 12 per cent year-over-year. And Ontario welcomed its biggest first-year class ever this fall.
Are universities ready for the students?
Some schools have planned for the growth. Although they have 400 more students than they expected, McMaster University has added extra classes and created more study spaces to cope.
Thomas Chase, Provost and Vice-President (Academic) at University of Regina, told Maclean’s On Campus that Regina is ready too. He said that class sections are not expected to get any larger and that residences are expected to be nearly full, but no first-years have been turned away.
Things haven’t gone as smoothly elsewhere. The University of Guelph had to set up a deal with the local Best Western hotel to provide dozens of students with rooms after its residences filled up to capacity. And although Carleton University opened the doors to its new residence building on Monday, the building will be under construction until at least the end of October. Many students who were promised a single room will find themselves with a roommate until the building is complete.
At the University of Alberta, some students complain that they are unable to enrol in mandatory classes after 300 extra students signed-up this year. There aren’t enough teachers to meet the demand.
But at least one school has a potential solution to the increase. Eric Bercier, of the University of Ottawa’s registrar’s office, said that his school raised admissions standards to cut down on the overwhelming number of applications it received this year. Even after hiring 250 new teachers in the past five years, there may not have been enough resources to go around. And so, they didn’t risk it.
Rudayna Bahubeshi is a fourth-year humanities student at Carleton University.
Crunch results from 10 per cent year-over-year growth
Sixty-four University of Guelph students will be staying at the Best Western hotel this year.
Residences are full because more students than usual have accepted admission offers — 10.1 per cent more than last year. The school guarantees residence to all first-year students.
Best Western will rename a wing of the hotel Brock House. Students will pay Guelph the standard double-room rate of $5,640 for the eight-month school year, reports the Guelph Mercury.
A warning to first-year students
Residence has its upsides. You have a built-in social life, easy access to parties and somebody in your dorm is bound to have an Xbox. But here’s what else you have to look forward to:
1) You and your roommate aren’t just sharing a room.
You’re also sharing your food. And your toilet paper. And your toothbrush. Maybe in theory you don’t mind sharing your sleeping quarters and bathrooms with a complete stranger. But here’s the question that you need to ask yourself: will it bother you that Mr. Toothbrush is right next to Mr. Toilet? Every time they flush, your brush is in the blast radius. The lesson? Guard it closely.
2) 24-7 parties aren’t always a good thing.
Students oppose private-public partnership
Trent University’s plan to allow a private residence on its property cleared a hurdle late Monday evening. Peterborough City Council’s planning committee threw their support behind the 450-bed private residence proposed for 4.5 hectares of land leased from the school for 99 years, reports the Peterborough Examiner.
But that wasn’t until they heard opposition from students and residents. Ian Cameron, a Trent student, opposes the private nature of the deal. “This residence is purely going through for income,” he said, admonishing the committee for considering the project in the summer when many students aren’t in town. Several other residents raised concerns about the safety, noise and traffic.
But Trent President Steven Franklin defended the project. ”Trent needs to grow,” he said, explaining that “competitor” universities have similar arrangements.
The agreement between Trent University and Residence Development Corp. was leaked to the Examiner in December. It showed that Trent would collect $1,779,200 in land lease payments at the beginning of the deal and then five per cent of gross revenue each year, starting in the twentieth year of the lease.
American schools allow transitioning students to pick dorms
Ashley Gunn, the president of the University of South Florida’s (USF) gay student alliance, is applauding her school’s decision to allow transgender students to choose whether to live in a single room, with a friend of their choice, or be assigned randomly to a dorm room with a man or a woman.
But other students aren’t happy about the idea of sleeping next to someone who is physically the opposite sex, or whose gender is otherwise ambiguous. “I can’t imagine going into a room where I think that there is a woman, but it’s actually a man,” student Mohammad Noore told Miami TV station WTSP. “I’d be freaked out by it, creeped out by, maybe even a little disgusted.”
USF is not the first American school to make special provisions for GLBTTQ students who feel uncomfortable living with roommates of the same sex. Rutgers University in New Jersey began allowing students to live with the opposite sex if they so choose after Tyler Clementi, a gay student, committed suicide after repeated taunting from male roommates who exposed his homosexuality. Genderblind, an organization that advocates for gender-neutral campuses, lists 14 American universities with similar policies.
Student union says concerns over housing have intensified
For the fourth year in a row, Queen’s University’s Alma Mater Society will not be awarding the Golden Cockroach Award to the worst landlord in the “student ghetto.” Inaugurated in 2006, the Golden Cockroach was intended to be awarded annually in order to highlight students’ rental rights and the need for quality housing off campus. However, for the past four years, the AMS has not received any nominations for the award. That doesn’t mean housing concerns don’t exist. Hilary Windrem, AMS municipal affairs commissioner, said that due to growing tensions in recent years, students might not feel comfortably openly criticizing their landlords. “It’s challenging when you’re dealing with an adult who can use high pressure tactics,” she said. Queen’s other housing award, The Key to the Village, which goes to the ghetto’s best landlord was awarded to John McNevin, of Kingont Investments.