By Sierra Lammi
After many years of SJU student complaints about housing, the St. John’s Senate is gaining momentum to update housing in the Flynntown area, while emphasizing student input on these changes.
To accomplish this goal, a housing forum was held last week on Sept. 21 in Pellegrene Auditorium to gain student input on what the new housing should look like.
The housing changes that will be made are implementing a new building in the Flynntown apartments to provide upperclassmen with better amenities as well as more public space to foster a better sense of community. Dean of Students Mike Connolly has been part of the decision-making process.
“These housing changes are being considered so as to improve the number and quality of upper class apartments on campus,” Connolly said via email. “Much thought and consideration is being given to the location, style of apartments and how to best develop an intentional community in Flynntown.”
SJU Senate President, senior Jack Cummings, has been working toward getting new upperclassmen housing for Johnnies for years.
“Housing has been a concern on the St. John’s Senate for my whole time serving on Senate, and it has actually been on our goal set since 2007,” Cummings said.
Last year, the Senate sent out a survey to SJU students about what they would want to see changed in their housing. The results of the survey indicated that students were indeed dissatisfied with their housing, specifically with the amenities in their housing. The results of the survey pushed the SJU Board and administration to take on the project of creating better housing for SJU students.
An outside consultant was hired to help create the new housing that students want to see in Flynntown. The forum held was a chance for students to meet with these consultants and voice their opinions on what type of housing was to be created. However, Cummings makes it clear that the consultants are here to get information on what students want rather than design the project themselves.
“An overwhelming amount of students were concerned with the type of building that would be implemented in Flynntown,” Cummings said. “Specifically, input was given about whether to have an apartment style building or independent style condo building, such as Vincent or Centennial. Students want to feel a type of independence as upperclassmen but also foster the Benedictine value of community.”
Cummings hopes that the plans for the housing updates will be approved within the academic year.
While St. John’s prepares to renovate upperclassmen housing, CSB/SJU has focused on improvements to first-year housing recently in Corona, Regina, Aurora and St. Thomas Halls.
“We have been working to make improvements over the past several years in CSB housing.” Residential Life Director of Housing for CSB Mary Beth Thompson said. “This summer and next summer, improvements will be happening in the first-year halls as well as Mary Commons both inside and out.”
These changes include new carpets, blinds and paint jobs within the first-year dorms.
There will be another forum for SJU students to voice their opinions on housing later this semester.