Life in lounges becomes permanent for some

By Philip Bombara

Since the start of this semester, nearly 150 Pitt students have been living in nontraditional… Since the start of this semester, nearly 150 Pitt students have been living in nontraditional housing including lounges, hotel rooms and even rooms at other universities.

But unlike in past years, those students currently living in overflow housing should not expect to be relocated as traditional rooms open up. Pitt spokeswoman Patricia Lomando White said in an e-mail that students will likely not move to other accommodations.

“We consider these assignments to be permanent housing assignments and do not intend to relocate students,” she said. “If a student has a concern about his/her assignment they should reach out to their Residence Life staff or Panther Central.”

White said that the overflow situation is and has been something that the University is working to deal with. She said that Pitt will soon complete construction on an expansion that will add 155 beds to Bouquet Gardens and is also planning a new residence hall. White did not have more details on a possible new residence hall.

“The University is constantly evaluating and projecting housing demand out five years. Despite these efforts, there are years, like this past one, where more admitted students enroll at the University than projected,” she said.

This year more students decided to come to Pitt than projected, and 148 students found themselves placed in some form of overflow housing. The students all turned in their housing contracts late, and so they were not guaranteed housing, a spokesman said in a previous interview.

There are 92 students in quad- and triple-occupancy rooms that were previously lounges in Litchfield Towers and Lothrop Hall, as well as 48 students residing on one floor in the Wyndham Hotel. In addition to that, there are eight students living in Carlow University’s Dougherty Hall. This year was the first time Pitt students were housed at the Wyndham Hotel or at another university.

Some students, such as freshman Tom Boudwin who lives in a Tower A lounge, reacted favorably to the idea of staying in nontraditional housing all year. Boudwin said that despite initial reservations about his living situation, it has ultimately turned out for the best.

“I’m actually glad I got to live in the lounge. This wasn’t the case at first, but I like the room we have. And my roommates are good, which helps,” he said.

With a room significantly larger than a typical room in Towers, the additional space has allowed Boudwin and his three other roommates to divide their room in a way to maximize social space and privacy.

“We have our lounge set up into three separate rooms since it’s the size of three rooms. The middle one is a common area separated by tapestries,” Boudwin said.

The lounge rooms are outfitted with the same furniture and amenities as other rooms in the buildings.

With their additional space comes additional guests. Boudwin acknowledged that as one of the main disadvantages of living in the lounge.

“I probably don’t study as much because there’s always people hanging out in here, and it’s hard to get myself to leave sometimes,” he said.

Boudwin said that aside from the constant traffic, overall, living in the lounge has provided him with an excellent first-year experience, and with additional space and three other roommates, he has been afforded the opportunity to meet more people.