Starting in the fall, Gonzaga is ending the off-campus themed housing program to focus more on residence halls.
Themed housing gave an opportunity for students to find cheap off-campus housing and host events for the Logan neighborhood.
“The process was very competitive,” said Meghan Hayes, a GU senior living in a themed house.
“Over 20 groups applied for only around 10 houses. There was an application where you created a theme and your mission to connect with the Logan neighborhood for the year, as well as an interview with the [residence director] and current community advisors.”
According to Housing and Residence Life, the competitions left students and parents upset since, inevitably, there had to be losers.
“The theme competition process has been thankless for us for many, many years,” said Dennis Colestock, senior director of Housing and Residence Life. “Tears are shed each year as decisions are announced, and unlike the earlier years, parents today are increasingly involved and disapproving of the process and sometimes properties.”
Most houses in the Logan neighborhood are between 65 and 120 years old. The expectations when going through GU for housing left some residents disappointed, even if homes were maintained.
“Largely, their age shows,” Colestock said. “Students were born and raised in much, much newer living accommodations often and when they — and as their parents — encounter these very old, yet still sound properties, there are frequently complaints and even one lawsuit threat in the recent past.”
The themed houses were given a budget to host events through the Logan Neighborhood. These events were meant to create a bond between the students and their surrounding community.
“It has been a blast,” said Madelyn Hoban, another senior in a themed house. “For starters, I live with all of my closest friends from Gonzaga which is such a blessing. But to have the opportunity to live in a house that is encouraged to interact with the Logan neighborhood through Logan Neighborhood meetings, house events and make connections with other Gonzaga students is a pretty unique experience in my eyes.”
The themed houses will be retired for next year and the traditional blue signs will advertise the street address and continue to be a visual signal as a GU property.
These properties are owned by the university and will continue to be rented out to students. GU will act as the landlord for the students living in these houses. According to Housing and Residence Life, rent will rise from $385 per bedroom to $450, regardless of how many tenants are in the house.
Vacant houses are put on the off-campus virtual bulletin board https://gonzagaoffcampus.org/# early in the academic year and are available on a first come, first served basis.