Holiday housing presents a Christmas gift
Students can stay on campus for free during winter break. | Photo Courtesy of Biola Housing
To better serve students’ needs this winter, housing services is permitting all students who live on campus to stay during the holiday break free of charge starting from Dec. 16.
a viable plan
Manager of housing services Heidi Herchelroath and associate director of auxiliary services Beth Braley spent a year in discussion before they came forward with a viable plan last spring. By partnering with Residence Life and Campus Safety, they decided continuing students will have the option to continue to dwell in their rooms for any length of winter break as long as they complete the mandatory housing plan survey, available to students from Nov. 20 to Dec. 1.
Last year’s academic calendar required students to leave campus during the six-week long break unless they lived in Biola’s apartments or had a specific reason to stay during interterm, such as taking a class or working in the area. But with the removal of interterm, students have the freedom to come and go freely without the hassle of checking in and out, simplifying the hassle for resident staff. In addition, students now have flexibility to plan flights and other means of transportation according to their own schedules.
“We thought this would be a really good service to provide for our students that aligns with real life expectations,” Herchelroath said. “We’re here to support them with our doors wide open.”
Similar joyful emotions
Herchelroath’s statement provides a huge relief to the growing population of international students, who sometimes had to spend the holidays alone off-campus if they could not go home or did not have host families. Undeclared freshman global student Joseph Lee feels appreciative knowing he can stay in Horton until the right transportation opportunity takes him back to his aunt’s house for Christmas.
“It is comforting [to know], because I don't have a place to go,” Lee said. “I am grateful.”
Similar joyful emotions run through sophomore commercial music major Ellery Sablan, who plans to stay on campus for the whole break.
“Flying from here to Guam is really expensive,” Sablan said. “One of [my sisters] is going to college soon so my family is trying to save money.”
Although the university will remain closed during the holidays, Campus Safety officers and a few resident directors will provide security and support, remaining on call in case of an emergency. At the same time, students should respect their living space and not take advantage of the fact that there will be less people around, according to Herchelroath.
If this pilot year proves a large success and benefits a vast majority of students, Herchelroath hopes to continue free holiday housing as an annual tradition.