By Sam Arseneau
Design of the future UPEI residence (photo credits: Coles Associates Limited)
Students are faced with many challenges they must overcome when first coming to university, but one of which should not be if they will find a place to live. However, that is a major problem for students at UPEI.
Residence, which could once be counted on as a place to stay for students is now met with a dilemma of having too many students apply and not enough room for them. The housing crisis on PEI affects the way housing works, even on campus. With a first-come-first-serve basis many students are left without knowing where they will stay. One of the ways UPEI claims it is combatting this issue is by recently announcing that a new residence will be built on campus.
The new residence will be the largest one yet, it will consist of 260 beds, classrooms, as well as a theatre. The new $60 million residence, funded by both the PEI government and UPEI, is expected to be finished right before the Canada Games 2022. Given its size it will take some months to build. I question why it can’t be built sooner.
Just in time for the Canada Games, the new residence will be used as housing for the athletes during the games, as UPEI becomes the athlete’s village. Do I think this is a happy coincidence? No.
It would be a perfect twist of fate for the new residence to be finished in time for when UPEI becomes home to the Canada Games athlete’s village, giving athletes the first stay in the new infrastructure.
It’s partially because of the Canada Games that the province is funding the new building. Given that PEI is in a housing crisis and students have been struggling to find housing for years the government and UPEI seem to have postponed this funding a bit too far.
This year many students were moved to an “off-campus residence” which consists of 93 rooms rented from the Dutch Inn, located in Cornwall, 7.1kms from the UPEI campus. This was done in an attempt to give more students safe housing that they could count upon. However, many students were turned away due to lack of space. Students that were accepted to the university and were expecting lodging are now forced to find a space to stay in the middle of a housing crisis.
Given the situation, the government could have aided students’ experience by commencing the project sooner. It a well understood issue, and it’s a pressing one that continues to grow. We must now consider the facts and question if the funding and new residence is really just to help students who are in need of a place to live, or if it is to give the Athlete’s Village new, modern lodging and show off our new infrastructure as a way to boast.