Updated: Sep 16, 2020
As fully online class schedules increased in popularity in late July, returning Salisbury University students began to realize a common issue: housing.
More and more Sea Gulls who opted not return to campus over COVID-19 concerns began reporting an inability to find new student renters to take over their lease agreements that had been signed months earlier, leaving them stranded with a huge financial burden for an empty apartment.
The emerging crisis was brought to the attention of the SU Student Government Association via Dr. Lawanda Dockins-Mills, associate dean of students, and Dr. Dane Foust, vice president of Student Affairs.
“[Students] were realizing a lot later after they’d signed these leases that they really didn’t need to be in the area,” said Haley Taylor, director of civic engagement for the SGA.
Taylor and then-SGA President Brendan Link were tasked with forming an initiative to assist these students, who were potentially hundreds of miles from the SU campus, in finding new prospective renters to take on their housing leases.
In response, Taylor designed an easily accessible Google Form for students to provide the organization with their contact information and current housing situation, whether they were seeking to sublet or were still in search of available housing.
The form allows Taylor to better understand a given student’s preferences on budget, number of roommates and other key factors to create the most appropriate potential student matches based on their individual needs.
Student Government can assist in facilitating matches for students looking to sublet from a variety of local Salisbury housing options, from apartment complexes — including University Park, University Orchard and others — to houses with potential vacancies.
However, Taylor warns that students should always speak with their contractor about the language of their agreement before filling out the form, as some leases require students to follow a specific protocol or will not allow subletting.
Acting as an intermediary, Student Government's role is to assist in pairing students together, not formalizing any type of subletting agreement, "so always make sure to get [the original lease] worked out and settled first,” Taylor said.
Once a pair of students have been matched by the organization, both parties are sent his or her potential match’s contact information, permitting them to then meet and arrange their subletting agreement with their contractor.
Andrew Wilson, vice president of the Student Government Association, praised the work of Taylor when asked about how the initiative has impacted SU.
“I cannot see a better individual to handle this initiative than [Taylor]. She’s been incredibly involved in SGA since she started at SU, and that passion is what drove this project to creation.”
Having already worked with more than two dozen students, Taylor is excited to continue the initiative well into the fall semester for those in need of housing relief.
The Student Government Association student housing information form can be found at the following link:
By JAKOB TODD
Featured image: Salisbury University Student Government Association.