Seattle Pacific University's Student Newspaper

The Falcon

Seattle Pacific University's Student Newspaper

The Falcon

Seattle Pacific University's Student Newspaper

The Falcon

Who is where?

Students apply for housing with changes for 2024-25 school year in mind
Josilyn Walker
FILE – The Ashton Hall RLC apartment outdoor entrance is gated with “Keep Out” and “Danger” signs during renovations on Oct. 27, 2023.

After the class of 2026 moved out of Ashton Hall, the six-story high dormitory building was closed for renovation. Most assumed it would sit vacant for extended lengths of time, like Moyer Hall, but the dormitory is scheduled to hold students once again after a year of renovations.

Ashton, the emblem and eyesore of Seattle Pacific University’s campus, will once again burst with first-year students who face an uphill climb during the 2024-25 academic year. 

“Taking the opportunity to hold Ashton offline for the 2023-24 year has allowed us to dedicate resources and time to refresh the building,” said Lynn Ernsting, executive director of university services. “Many of the major systems-related work being taken care of are the kinds of things you won’t see but will be deeply appreciated.”

After one year of renovations, the dormitory’s roof, elevator equipment, hot water equipment, generators and more have been updated. Recent work on the old building includes new red and yellow panels above and under exterior windows and an expansion of the fifth-floor recreation center, which lay unused in 2022. 

“We’re working to give the building a fresh look,” Ernsting said.

During the year-long Ashton closure, freshmen lived in Arnett Hall and the historically sophomore-oriented Hill Hall. In the 2024-2025 school year, freshmen will occupy Ashton and Arnett, sophomores will fill Arnett and Hill, and upperclassmen will live in Emerson Hall, Campus Housing and Apartments or off-campus.

“The housing needs of students are evolving, and as our current student population looks different than it did five to ten years ago, we have a responsibility to evolve with them,” Ernsting said.

One such change is a greater demand for single units on campus. Brittney Hartshorn, sophomore physiology major, currently lives with one roommate and one emotional support animal, her cat Luna.

At first, Hartshorn considered living with a roommate in the dorms for her junior year. But as the deadline for finding a roommate in her same year drew closer, she decided the extra cost of a single room might be worth it.

“It’s not that I don’t want to live with anybody,” Hartshorn said. “I want a single room because I have Luna.”

The black cat, sleek and shy, was diagnosed with cancer in March 2024. Hartshorn, a cancer survivor herself, is wary of random or recently met roommates because of the standards in food, space, air and more for the well-being of both cat and owner.

“It’s just a simple fact like I don’t want somebody who ONE doesn’t like Luna or two is gonna get irritated with Luna or because I do have her for emotional support reasons,” Hartshorn said. “Having a roommate would be really difficult because I don’t know if people would want to keep up with the standards that I need, not only for my living conditions of someone with cancer but her living conditions as someone with cancer.”

Trying to figure out how to live on campus without being required to purchase a meal plan led to a series of emails between Hartshorn and various Housing officials. For the most part, they were helpful.

“The housing manager of university services, Leslie Cox, was literally the most helpful man,” Hartshorn said. “As soon as he could, he talked about different placements, CCing Debbie Wilkins of Disability Support Services to get my housing accommodation.”

After a few more hiccups in the official application process, Hartshorn was assigned a studio apartment in CHA for her and Luna.

“I am grateful for and happy with my assignment. I just don’t know what could’ve been done to make the process easier on my end,” Hartshorn said.

Some glitches, like her application being lost in the system, are part of 2024’s general housing application experience.

“We migrated to a cloud-based version of StarRez, the software we use for the housing portal, last fall,” Ernsting said. “While the Housing team worked diligently to test the system as extensively as they could, we’re finding some small situations where something didn’t migrate perfectly, and we’re working to get it resolved immediately.”

Sierra Sullivan, a freshman music production major, currently lives with one roommate in Arnett. For her sophomore year, she applied to live in a triple with two roommates, but their application hit a hiccup early on.

“[One of my roommates] was put in as a 2022 graduate. We don’t know why, so we got an email that we couldn’t put her in our group because she’s not in our grade, but she is,” Sullivan said.

An additional error was made when submitting their application, and the specifics of the error were unclear. Sullivan’s group met with Leslie Cox, the housing and meal plan services manager, to address the error in their application.

“We were kind of frantic, especially on the day the application had to be submitted, but Leslie was cool and really nice,” Sullivan said. “He was like, ‘Don’t even worry. I will help you and submit this for you,’ and then he did!”

Cox manually entered the application on his end, leaving Sullivan’s group with one last step: filling out the triple room application when it opens on May 23 and 24.

Students with questions unanswered by Housing’s website should call 206-281-2188 or email [email protected].

“Housing has been auditing regularly to catch anything and are working one-on-one with students to get them through the sign-up process,” Ernsting said.

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Ella Beth Sessions
Ella Beth Sessions, News Editor
Ella Beth is a second year english literature and honors liberal arts double major with a minor in journalism. She occasionally finds time to pursue her hobbies, which include reading, biking and crafting.
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