Housing changes for 2020-2021


Photo courtesy of luther.edu

Mixed gender groups may apply to live in Baker Village for the 2020-2021 academic year.

Luther will implement changes to student housing policy for the 2020-2021 academic year, including changes to increase gender inclusivity.

The first change is that mixed gender groups may apply to live in Baker Village. Second, the ground floor of Larsen will be classified as a gender inclusive floor. Third, due to the large number of single room accommodation requests, there will not be a standard single room draw process. Finally, the on-campus residency requirement will move from 23 to 25 years of age.

Luther has an extensive room draw process to ensure students have many choices. Phase one and two of the room draw process happened on Feb. 13 and 20, and will happen again on Apr. 14-15. If students missed phase one and have questions, they can visit the Residence Life Office.

On Apr. 5, those looking for a roommate can meet by the fireplace in the Union at 8 p.m. to get to know others looking for a roommate.

Residence Life will also have tables outside the Caf in the coming weeks to explain the room draw procedure and options.

Standard room draw will occur on May 3 in the Mott Room.

Assistant Dean for Student Life and Director of Residence Life Kris Franzen explained that Luther makes changes to housing policy based on demand from students. If there is an increased interest in certain types of housing, they try to make changes according to those trends.

“An example would be the co-ed clusters in Farwell Hall and adding a co-ed Baker Village as an option this year for students,” Franzen said. “For the first 10 years we did not have many groups interested in the co-ed clusters because very few groups applied. Over the last few years we have been able to fill the [co-ed] clusters on a more consistent basis with students that apply, so a Baker co-ed option was added because we were seeing more applications for co-ed options.”

Residence Life adjusts housing policies to fit students’ needs. Vice President and Dean for Student Life Corey Landstrom said that the changes come out of conversations with students. The outcomes of the changes put in place for the next academic year will be assessed to determine whether more adjustments to housing policy are necessary in the future.

“By increasing living options for students, we that the changes provide a better quality of their experience at Luther,” Landstrom said. “Student engagement in our community, their success academically, co-curricularly, and socially are all important outcomes.”

As for the change to the residential age requirement, Landstrom added that requiring students to live on campus, especially during times of lower enrollment, has financial benefits for Luther College and its students.

“The college’s budget benefits when we can serve students with the resources we have,” Landstrom said. “When we have space and capacity on campus, having more students living in residence helps to keep the costs of a Luther education more affordable.”

While Luther is mainly a residential campus, there are a small number of students who will be affected by the change to the age requirement for on-campus residency. According to Franzen, nine students exceeded the age requirement of 23 and lived off campus during the 2019-2020 academic year. Six of these students are seniors, and one is over the age of 25. The remaining two have made arrangements to continue living off campus next year.

“Our residential requirement for releasing students off campus is based on when we have a shortage of housing on-campus,” Franzen said. “There have been years enrollment was high and many students were approved to live off-campus because we did not have enough housing. The enrollment numbers have decreased so we have space on campus to house students.”

Olivia Hellend (‘22) is one of the students considering applying for a co-ed Baker for next year.

“I have a mix of guys and girl friends, so I think it would be a good fit to live in a co- ed,” Hellend said. “I think the changes help accommodate more people because not everyone is the same and not everyone has the same living styles or preferences. It seems like Luther College is recognizing that and making sure that everyone feels included.”

Franzen wants to encourage Luther students to try applying for where they want to live most and to explore the new options that are available for the coming year.

“I hear so many students say they are not applying for Baker because they don’t think they will get in,” Franzen said. “Last year at the end of the Baker process we still had a six person unit available. So don’t be afraid to try for locations where you want to live next year. Go after where you want to be, and apply.”

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