Fixing Student Housing
Finding off-campus campus housing can be a stressful experience, and it's a necessary one for over half of Tufts students at one point or another. I have a whole host of ideas to make it less stressful, and to help prevent problems from arising in the first place.
Ensure that the off-campus housing coordinator has all the necessary tools to help students with apartment searches, implement a training during orientation week – Tufts will likely be hiring an off-campus housing coordinator next year to ease the shift off-campus for many students, and I'll work to ensure the position has well-funded resources and will be the tremendous resource that it has the potential to be.
Create an online platform for sharing housing deals and landlord contact info, in addition to leaving reviews – when you sign up for courses, many of you probably check Rate My Professors; when you look for internships, you might check Glassdoor or the TIPS Internship Guide. It's helpful to rely on people like you to make decisions, but there isn't currently anything like this for seeking off-campus housing. I'll work with relevant administrators to encourage the creation of a database for off-campus housing information and reviews, and if the administration won't fund it, I'll push for Senate to start it ourselves.
Preserve culture houses – in revisiting social spaces, some have suggested that Tufts assess whether language and culture houses have a purpose on campus and potentially revoke the status of some of them. I stand firmly in opposition to this plan because even if the number of students who attend events in many of these houses may not be large, many of them still have a huge impact on the students who are a part of these communities.
Make further improvements to the housing lottery system – Matt Austin has done excellent work in improving the housing lottery system, but there is more that can be done. I'll work with the administration to take a deeper dive into other university's systems and push for a plan to help students be able to make decisions earlier in the year, alongside other relevant changes.
Transform the first-year roommate survey – when I took the first-year roommate survey, it was basically 8 questions about music taste, a question about room temperature, and a question about what time I go to sleep and wake up; that was it. It has improved since then, but I plan on pushing for a new survey which seeks to match roommates based on more meaningful metrics related to background and personality.
Encourage the construction of a full size dorm, possibly above Dewick-Macphie – Tufts has a housing shortage, and merely renovating wood-framed houses isn't going to fix it. It's time that Tufts take a deep look into where they can construct a full size dorm before off-campus rent prices rise to the point of being unaffordable for anybody at Tufts. We're almost at that point, so more dramatic action must be taken.
Support the Capen Village (whatever it's called) and projects like it – any project which seeks to create more social spaces on campus for people with different identities, backgrounds, and interests is a project I support, and I believe more projects like this would make our campus a brighter place.