Many sophomores who had hoped to obtain a room in Phelan were moved over the summer to Pedro Arrupe. The reassignment was made to accommodate the unexpected number of incoming freshmen.
Pedro Arrupe is located on the corner of 6th and Anza Street, approximately twelve blocks from main campus. The co-ed Pedro Arrupe hall has a 1923 brick exterior. It is the only off-campus residence building. The building, formerly a hospital, underwent extensive renovation in 2000, after the university purchased it. The dormitory mainly housed transfer, international and graduate students. However, upon the arrival of dozens of sophomore students, that make-up changed.
“This year, the University experienced more demand for campus housing than ever before” said Steve Nygaard, Director of USF’s Office of Residence Life. While the issue of finding places for students who wish to reside on campus had always been an issue, this reassignment was a unique way of dealing with it. “Students were placed in non-traditional spaces, triples, and lounges,” he said.
While Nygaard said a number of students cancelled their reservation altogether after hearing about the new room in Pedro Arrupe, some had little choice but to accept the new arrangement: either there was not enough time to secure an apartment off campus or the current residence requirement, which states that students who live under 21 and who graduated from high school in 2009 or 2010 must live in university housing, barred them from doing so.
The solution came as a surprise to many students affected by ORL’s decision.
Andrew Parsons had reserved a room in Phelan at the close of the spring 2010 semester. When Parsons came to inquire about the reservation in June, he said it was the first time he found out that his reservation had been reassigned to Pedro Arrupe.
“There was too little notice,” Parsons said. “Even if they did send out an e-mail, a letter would have been better.”
Parsons was initially upset about the sudden change in living arrangement, but became optimistic when he was told about the incentives for those students willing to follow through with the reassignment. Among the incentives offered to students Nygaard listed were the following:
• Free morning and evening shuttle service to campus.
• Newly-enhanced Internet service.
• Renovated kitchens and new appliances.
• An optional meal plan.
• A $50 Safeway gift card to getstudents started with some foodsupplies.
• Up to $500 per semester for specially-provided food services such as the twice weekly snack nights and Saturday brunch.
• The chance to upgrade to a singleroom.
“They promised us a continental breakfast every day and a shuttle to take us to and from school,” said Parsons. He continued by saying that the continental breakfasts actually turned out to be twice weekly snack nights and Saturday breakfast sandwiches, a description similar to the above incentive mentioned by Nygaard. Parsons forgoes the shuttle, saying it is always late and favors his skateboard instead of the commute to campus.
After the suddenness of his room change, however, Parsons warmed up to living in Pedro Arrupe.
“I like the separation from school. The rooms are clean and it is not as noisy as the other halls. The one thing I still miss is the social life in the halls on the main campus.”
Alex Goya was likewise upset upon learning about the move. “I made the deadline and picked out a room well before school ended,” Goya said. “I didn’t think it was fair for ORL to do that when I fairly made the deadline to sign up for rooms and have always been keeping up with payments.”
Goya thought the e-mail explaining the reassignment was not enough notice. But aside from the short notice and the difficulty in realizing some of the incentives (according Goya, it took two weeks of persistent inquiry to obtain the $50 Safeway card from the front desk), Goya is satisfied with living in Pedro.
“It’s a close-knit community so we all know each other. The front desk workers are great to talk to…it’s clean and quiet and there’s a great kitchen with fridges, freezers and microwaves along with dishes and utensils.”
“Everyone is doing their own thing,” said Jennifer Hong, another transferrd sophomore.
Hong said the Pedro-Arrupe shuttle is also inconvenient, since it arrives and departs at limited hours. Now she must make the commute over the the main campus daily since, in premature anticipation for her Phelan dorm room, she arranged to have any many classes as she could near Phelan hall.
However, she, too, after a period of adjustment, came to enjoy the living experience at Pedro Arrupe: For her, best perks included the proximity to the Green Apple Bookstore and the myriad cafes and restaurants close by.
“Now I’m great,” she said. “I became friends with some of my super cool residents.”
By now those who have made the transition to Pedro have accustomed, even embraced life in Pedro Arrupe. “Living in Pedro is not as bad as people think it to be,” said Alex Goya. “The free water at the front desk is legit.”
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