Transitioning: From hotels to campus and soon a new residence hall


By Ali DeRees

Halfway through the 2013 Fall Semester and Oakland University’s Housing is continuing to deal with the high demand for housing they experienced at the beginning of the semester.

Director of University Housing Jim Zentmeyer has heard from many colleagues that the current lack of housing space for students is at least “a good problem to have.”

“It’s really great to see that residential demand,” Zentmeyer said.

Because of the high demand for housing and the limited space, some students were given the option to live at one of three hotels until spots opened up for them on campus.

The University contracted with three Extended Stay America hotels to house students, according to Zentmeyer. The main hotel is the Extended Stay America on University Road, and the other two are located on Dorse Road and Featherstone.

Zentmeyer said 115 beds had been secured in total for students to live in the hotels. As the semester progressed, students from the hotel were able to move back on campus when spots opened up on campus.

Students with the earliest contract date are contacted first if space opens up, and they can move back on campus.

All students living in the Dorse and Featherstone hotels were brought back on to campus, according to Zentmeyer. Fifty students remain at the Extended Stay America on University.

“Currently we’ve been able to work the numbers out to 11 females and 39 males,” Zentmeyer said.

Like many, Zentmeyer is anxiously awaiting the completion of the new housing facility.

“It breaks our heart waiting for this new facility to be completed,” Zentmeyer said.

The new housing building will be completed by next fall but Zentmeyer saw the need for more housing as soon as he took the position as University Housing Director.

In 2010, Zentmeyer was ready to present new housing plans to the Board of Trustees but the Board said that the university was not ready new housing.

The building, currently called University Housing Building number 8, will be the home for Oakland University’s Honors College.

Zentmeyer believes this housing building will be more than just a place for students to live and relax, but a place to learn and grow as well.

The building will “blur the lines between residential space and academic space,” Zentmeyer said.

Resident Hall Association (RHA) president Franklin Kennamer knows the importance of keeping resident students involved on campus.

“We throw programs to keep things fun in the residence halls,” Kennamer said.

Kennamer serves as the RHA representative for Oakland University Student Congress and is a Housing Ambassador as well. As an ambassador, Kennamer works at orientations and goes to housing conferences, as well.

Kennamer described some of the events Housing puts on for students.

Grizz Posé is variety/talent show put on each year. Proceeds go to a different charity or organization each year. This year all proceeds will go to OUCARES (Oakland University Center for Autism Research, Education and Support).

Other events include Siblings Weekend and one of Kennamer’s favorites; the monthly comedy shows called Friday Night Live

“We bring in comedians from all over the nation,” Kennamer said.

Kennamer says the new residence hall will hold 500 freshmen and sophomores. He sees first hand the changes happening in housing and is thrilled by it.

“Housing students only take up 10% of the student population, but it’s growing,” Kennamer said.

“I would have never thought there’d be a new residence hall when I was a freshman,” Kennamer said.

Blueprints for the new residence hall are available students in The University Housing Office, located in 448 Hamlin Hall.