Plan for temporary student housing on campus

17 Nov 2021

The room shortage among international students in particular is so high that the executive board is looking into the possibility of placing temporary housing on campus. The housing might be realized as soon as the next academic year, for example next to Mercator II (behind the Huygens building).

It’s an ambitious plan: emergency student housing on the university campus that’ll be available next academic year. Rector Han van Krieken remains cautious, but really hopes it will work.

Especially the international students currently run into trouble when looking for a room. During the first year of their pre-master, master, or bachelor they can rent a room with student housing corporations such as SSH&, but need to vacate the room when their first year is over. They are expected to find new accommodation on their own. ‘That does not go well, currently’, says the rector.

The housing market is locked tight, and there is too little flowthrough. The problem was much less prevalent before corona. ‘The current housing shortage took us by surprise.’

No tents

According to the rector, there are a few places on campus where the zoning plan allows new buildings. One of those places is the area next to Mercator II (behind the Huygens building). The university is currently talking to the municipality, the SSH& and other parties to see whether temporary housing could be built there. ‘Think of the type of houses that used to be on the Griftdijk in Lent’, says Van Krieken, reffering to temporary accommodations where international students (and later refugees) lived some time ago. ‘We don’t want tents or pavilions.’

Van Krieken cannot yet say how many students could be accommodated in these houses.

He hopes that the Erasmus building will be renovated and converted into a student flat within ten years at the latest. The temporary houses should bridge that period. However, no final decisions have yet been made about student housing in the Erasmus Tower. At the moment it houses the Faculty of Arts, which first needs to be relocated.

Some time ago, there were plans to house a hotel and conference centre there. Van Krieken: ‘We will be discussing the use of the building with the employee council in the near future.’ The future of the Spinoza building also still needs to be discussed.

Exclusion

Last October, at the Dies celebration of the university, the rector said that he thought it was ‘very bad‘ that student houses often indicated that they did not want internationals in their search for new roommates. He repeats that he does not think the exclusion of foreign students is in line with ’the values of our university’. But he cannot intervene because the university has nothing to say about the private housing market.

If temporary homes are built, Radboud University also depends on contractors and the availability of materials for its planning. There is currently a shortage of wood, steel, and plastic in construction. As a result, prices rise, and it takes longer for a house to be finished.

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