In light of an additional 750 students matriculating this year, UC Berkeley extended on-campus housing offers to include locations at Mills College and Holy Names University, both in Oakland.
The expansion to local colleges followed campus officials’ anticipated increase in demand for on-campus housing. This was precipitated both by a record number of first-year students at Berkeley in fall 2016, as well as the campus’s mission to provide housing for all newly admitted first year students.
“We know that housing is a top concern for many students,” said UC Berkeley campus spokesperson Adam Ratliff in an email. “Overall, we strive to match students with housing that will meet their needs.”
Residence at HNU and Mills College is considered on-campus housing and, therefore, is similar in cost to traditional on-campus accommodations, such as the units. Additionally, students who elected to enroll in the program are grouped together on the same floor, where they live with both a UC Berkeley liaison, as well as a local campus residential adviser.
“We (worked with UC Berkeley officials to) select a hall that was integrated with the rest of Mills,” said Linda Zitzner, associate vice president of operations at Mills College. “UC Berkeley students use the same community laundry and meeting rooms as Mills students, they can go into the libraries and the athletic facilities — they have access to all Mills amenities. I can’t differentiate them from Mills students.”
The pilot program was originally devised to house nearly 100 continuing and transfer UC Berkeley students but only 32 UC Berkeley students accepted 2016-17 housing offers at either HNU or Mills College. University officials noted that formal measures — including free transportation between the campuses, as well as inclusion in the campus’s events — have been enacted to mitigate inconveniences for enrolled UC Berkeley students. Nonetheless, Justin Vacca, HNU’s director of housing and residence life, said the novelty of the program might have deterred more students from applying for housing.
“I think (the housing option) was something that people didn’t understand,” Vacca said. “I don’t know the comfort level that people had with living at a different university.”
Vacca says that HNU administrators sought to foster a welcoming environment for UC Berkeley students by meeting them in-person on move-in day, as well as by inviting them to all campus events and activities so they feel integrated with the HNU students.
“I want (UC Berkeley) to say — at the end of the year — that they were happy living at HNU, and that they made connections,” Vacca said.