The number of students within Cal State Fullerton housing has dropped to approximately 230, along with approximately 20 for staff, said Larry Martin, the executive director of housing and residential engagement.
According to an FAQ posted by the Housing Department, the initial capacity was set to 561, a 73% reduction in housing to allow proper physical distancing. The initial 73% reduction has increased to an estimated 88% reduction in housing compared to previous semesters.
Campus leadership and the housing department worked together to coordinate the applications for student housing. The applications prioritize students who have in-person classes on campus, those with housing insecurity, instability and students who live far from campus.
Samantha Davis, a CSUF student who applied for housing, said that it was a lengthy process that was delayed multiple times. Students had to return to their portals to add more information, sign safety guidelines and make their case as to why they should be allowed on campus, with the final decision made in late July.
Despite the reduction and delays, nearly all the rooms that can accommodate social distancing measures are occupied, Martin said. Only apartments with kitchens were made available and are limited to two students, each with their own bedroom and bathroom to avoid unnecessary contact, and any additional rooms are locked. But there is still some room available for emergencies.
“We have a limited amount of space set aside for self-isolation if needed. And then also we have some emergency housing for students who may work with Tuffy’s Basic Needs,” Martin said.
Tuffy’s Basic Needs Services Center is a CSUF program that is set to help students who are facing food, housing and clothing insecurity and offers financial assistance. There is a floor in housing allocated for students seeking emergency housing, Martin said. The center can connect students to off-campus housing as well.
Though the emergency housing can only accommodate eight students at a time, it is at similar capacity to previous semesters, but there is some room for flexibility if the need arises, Martin said.
The reduction in housing available for students is only one of the many adverse effects of the coronavirus pandemic and Janet Nicanor, a senior business major, is feeling those effects at home.
Nicanor said she was set to move into off-campus housing to escape a turbulent home life before the COVID-19 pandemic, but has been stuck at home ever since.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has various resources for stress and mental health in relation to the pandemic and isolation, including support for people experiencing abuse. The information varies from individuals struggling with substance abuse to helping children cope.
Nicanor said she has found some solace in social media, especially the Cal State Fullerton Reddit page. As bittersweet as it may be, she said she finds comfort in knowing she’s not the only one experiencing hardships during the pandemic.
“It’s also nice to know that I’m not the only person going through this and that I’m not alone,” Nicanor said.