Summer Arch housing fiasco

My daughter is part of the first class for which Summer Arch is mandatory, and i’m starting to get some bad feelings that this sudden expansion of the program isn’t being planned very well. For one thing, they’re making all the kids who have off-campus housing move back “on campus” for the summer…except that the only housing available is at the Colonie Apartments, right next to the Rite-Aid off Hoosick St. This isn’t even a real dorm, has no dining hall, and is much farther away from classrooms than the “off-campus” housing where my daughter and her friends are now. When I tried discussing this with one of the ARCH directors, she apparently had no idea where the Colonie apartments were (!) The justification for making so many ARCH kids trek out there rather than stay where they are is that the ARCH is going to offer programs, support services, etc. based at the on-campus residence and it’s important part of the ARCH experience. It sound like they’re winging it to me. Does anyone have any more insight?

Adds some weight to the theory that the ARCH is about enhancing revenue. ARCH effectively allows the undergraduate class to grow by 12% without adding any new facilities. Looks like they found a way to get summer rent for a large number of apartments that would otherwise be vacant. The closer in dorms are already booked for various camps etc but the far away apartments would otherwise be completely empty. I’m surprised they can fit the entire ARCH class (25% of the undergrads) in one set of apartments. Are they forcing a meal plan as well? It was ages ago when I was both an undergrad and a grad student at RPI but summer rents were dirt cheap. There was plenty of available off campus places that you could sublet (mostly off the books) very cheaply. I think I lived in my fraternity for like $15/week.

According to the application for the class of '21 for RPI the write-up indicates that the student is signing up for 5 semesters mandatory on-campus. After speaking with a person at the undergrad dept., they said that the studentwill have to contact and make arrangements with residential-life to see if they can break the bill in half since all the prices in the residential price list is in per-anum format. He was unsure and directed me to speak to residential life but I haven’t gotten around to doing that yet. If you find out please let us know.

He also indicated that waivers are certainly a possiblity for certain reasons, I think your daughter may have a valid reason if she can prove that she’s been living within 20 miles of the school; it would indicate that the student is close enough to commute.

On a different note, my kid says that for those students who currently do reside in-campus, they are garanteed to keep whatever housing they currently have through the summer.

Thanks to you, Axfather and Reformedman. I especially find it interesting that Reformedman’s kid says that current on-campus residents get to stay in whatever dorm they’re currently in. That is also what my kid has discovered from talking to some friends of hers that live on-campus. This flatly, completely contradicts what i was told by the Arch office. One of the arguments they gave for why you couldn’t use inconvenience as a valid reason to get out of on-campus housing that isn’t actually on-campus was that lots and lots of people are going to be inconvenienced. I was told that nobody is allowed to stay in their current dorms–they all have to move to the dorms that are specifically for Summer Arch. This appears to be false.

I also find Axfather’s theory intriguing, that the regular dorms are being occupied by summer campers! if so, they are prioritizing summer campers over their paying students. This is certainly not a fact which is being advertised!
We do live within 20 miles of the school, so maybe we could try for a commuter waiver. Not that it would make any sense given the reasons i’ve been told, but sometimes bureaucracies don’t make sense!

I mean logistically speaking if I were running this money machine of an institution (not that there’s anything wrong with doing that) is I would also agree that putting the high-school summer campers that are paying from 5k-10k for the summer programs closer to their classes for safety reasons as well as for big money vip reasons. Apparently this website was updated this year
[url=<a href=“”>]LINK[/url]

Here’s a quote

The list of residences including more than just Colonie makes sense as I couldn’t believe they could fit everyone into just the Colonie apartments. At least they are saying the ARCH kids get AC. I’d be livid at having to move pay for an on-campus space (particularly if they consider the apartments “on-campus”) while I had a lease on a nicer and closer off campus apartment. At least there’s some benefit for the $ as most of off campus apartments in Troy don’t have AC. My daughter attended one of the camps as a rising HS senior. They put those kids in the freshman dorms (no AC) which was fine for a two week camp but would be draining for the full summer. They definitely want to corral the HS kids into a couple of freshman dorms so they can more easily control them.

Will you cycle back or post a new thread about how the ARCH experience went for your student? This was one of the reasons that RPI didn’t fall higher on my daughter’s list. The impression DD had was that they hadn’t worked out the kinks yet. We have younger family members and friends still in HS where RPI could be a match down the road so it would be interested to hear how it went. Good luck!

Hi, Momofsenior1. I will definitely post some more once she has had the experience :). To Axfather and reformedman, this list makes more sense. I knew there were other dorms being used for Arch, but i didn’t have a full list. So it sounds like the unlucky ones are shuffled off to Colonie. And yes, i’m not too happy about it.
I think what the Arch office told me was definitely NOT true, and explains a lot. If students are allowed to stay in their dorms (at least if they happen to live in one of the Arch-assigned dorms) i assume that most kids would say “Yes”, especially if the alternative was forcing them to live in the Colonie apts! The way the housing is assigned, you get a time slot by lottery, in which you can choose a living situation. By the time her slot came up, there were no spaces left other than in Colonie. So I assume it’s ONLY kids who either commute or live off-campus (including Greek housing) that are getting this raw deal.
If anyone were considering RPI, the above would be a really good reason to stay in your dorm sophomore year, if you’re in a good, central building. That way, you could be guaranteed a good living situation in the summer.

The school is now considering allowing Greek organizations to house students for Summer Arch. The plan isn’t complete and they will only allow fraternities with high housing scores (nice/safe/clean facilities) to take part. This should be in place in time for Summer Arch for the Class of 2022, if they plan on actually doing it.

@SitcomDad How can your daughter live “off-campus” sophomore year?

Greek housing would be considered “off-campus” based on SitcomDad’s description. With all due respect to joedoe if RPI is only now starting to consider allowing Greek Housing; they are very far behind schedule. They had one year to pilot the program, if it was not ready (as it wasn;t) they should have done another pilot. The problem is RPI could not afford to wait. They need the revenue from room & board. I think the fiasco will continue. What happens if less than 50% of the rising juniors have opportunities to leave for the fall. Going home and doing volunteer work should not be an option. I encourage all students, parents, and other supporters of RPI to carefully look at the financial picture. Check out Renew Rensselaer (even if you do not agree with their mission the financial statements are from public sources). If CLASS and ARCH are so successful RPI should be able to show that they simply break even or that they are not revenue generating activities.

@StudentsR1st Is there housing for sororities ?

I do not know. I know RPI is trying to kill Greek Life.

I think it is independent of whether RPI is trying to kill Greek Life.
During our visit, I was told that sororities at RPI did not have housing, hence I am surprised when @SitcomDad mentioned her daughter stayed “off-campus”.

I looked on the website and did a google search based on sororities and did not find any. There is one co-ed fraternity that I believe has a house. Sororities at many schools (I have been gone from RPI for a while) unofficially secure on-campus housing in dorms etc by using squatting rights and lottery rules. I suggest asking very probing questions. 1) Having a house does not mean they have housing unless RPI has an interest (I am not sure if that means owning the land, the building, or holding a loan or any combination). So if the sorority owns its house, or leases it from an independent landlord it is not RPI housing. If the on-campus housing arrangement is unofficial the sorority does not have housing. I have heard, but never confirmed that some sororities prohibit chapters from having houses. I wish I could be more help. .

Will RPI help students secure housing off-campus during their Jr year perhaps through paired arrangements (Fall Section/Spring Section) so that an apartment can be continuously occupied. Where does the student who cannot find an off-campus opportunity live? Do they go home and sit for a term?

My current theory is that the Arch housing mess is caused by a combination of bad planning and financial incentives. They clearly didn’t think it was important to give all the Arch students a comparable experience, as it would have required them to renovate more dorms (and maybe forgo income from summer camps). I did hear during a webinar about Arch that there are plans to let Greek houses participate in the future, but they didn’t go into any details about how they would qualify. I don’t see how the quality of the facilities is RPI’s business since these are not minors in their legal custody, so maybe that’s just an excuse.

SitcomDad: You are right on target. Arch is meant to increase cash flow and nothing else. It is built on CLASS which was designed for the same thing. I have never seen a cost-benefit analysis for CLASS.

Hope RPI realizes that they lost candidates (who decided not to apply) due to this new requirement, not to mention their lack of support from alumni and declining donations. I also didn’t like the way the RPI medal was handled (some schools only giving it to females etc).
Also with STEM/Engineering being hot fields, it’s surprising they are having such issues right now. And they should have dorms for ARCH…camps should not take priority over housing. In many cases, people getting the RPI Medal have no interest in RPI. It’s just another marketing tool.

Students need a break. 4 consecutive terms in 16 months without a break for the half of the Arch students on campus during the Fall of their Jr Year. As opposed to 4 terms over 2 years with a major break between terms 2 and 3. For those who will be on campus during the Spring of their Jr year - 3 consecutive terms without a break to culminate their UG experience. This is not to mention that all Sophomores face one calendar year without a break. Its is not about students it is about cash flow. Finally it is sad, but not surprising to hear that the Rensselaer Medal is now just seen as a marketing tool.