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H&D offers tetra points for housing

By Joey Capparella     1/30/13 6:00pm

What would you do with 500 tetra points? A new policy implemented by Housing and Dining this semester incentivises students to move back on campus by offering 500 tetra points to students who accept the offer to move back on before spring break and 250 tetra points to those who accept after spring break.

H&D Senior Business Director David McDonald said this initiative was to try to get students to fill the 67 empty beds on campus. McDonald could not say how these empty beds were distributed among the colleges.

"It is historically typical to have less beds filled in the spring than the fall due to many factors," McDonald said. "This could be study abroad, early graduation, leave of absence, etc."

Three students were confirmed in accepting the offer so far, with five others who are currently being placed, McDonald said.

Jones College junior Sallyann Zhou, who lives off campus, said she is doubtful this policy will be successful because of the timing.

"It's sad because I know people get kicked off and have to deal with difficult living situations," Zhou said. "But it's too late. If they had planned a little earlier, it could have been a win-win for both sides."

Students who choose to move back on campus will be required to purchase the on-campus meal plan as well, McDonald said.

"Tetra points are essentially neutral ground not affecting room-and-board rates," McDonald said. "Tetras are primarily used at student-run businesses, such as Coffeehouse and the Hoot's late-night operations, so we think it's a win-win for everyone."

Zhou also said tetra points were not much of a motivating factor for her.

"I can't even imagine how many trips to the Hoot that would afford, but it's not enough incentive," Zhou said. "I don't even use tetra points, really. Especially now that I live off campus, I realize how much I've enjoyed not having the on-campus meal plan. I don't have to deal with Sunday night dinners in the servery anymore."

Lovett College room draw coordinator Darryl Arredondo said one student had moved back on campus this semester for convenience reasons but that she had essentially exchanged with another student who took her room off campus. Arredondo said there were approximately four empty beds at Lovett.

McDonald said the problem of empty beds could be avoided in the future if students planned in their leases for the increased number of beds that open up in the spring semester.

"We hear that students typically sign one-year leases when they move off in the fall and have no choice but to stay through the spring, otherwise breaking their lease," McDonald said. "Our advice ... for those who really wish to live on campus is that they sign a semester-long lease in the fall, allowing them to come on in the spring when beds are more readily available."

Zhou said she signed her lease based on the assumption that she would be living off campus for the entire school year without the option of moving back on.

"I had the understanding that I wouldn't be able to move back on campus for the spring," Zhou said. "I wish I had known about this policy before I signed my lease, but now it wouldn't really be fair to my roommates at this point. I can't just break off my lease because there's a fee, and it's unrealistic to find a subletter now."

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