One such pressing issue is that of student housing. Those running to lead the students’ union should consider how the UTSU can lobby more effectively to ensure that current residences on campus continue to provide enough affordable spaces to house a massive undergraduate population in the city, while also improving the overall quality of residence life on campus. In addition, it’s time to get moving on plans to provide more residence space so that more students can live on campus, improving their university experience and connection to U of T.Affordability and accessibility are two major issues facing the university’s current student housing offerings.
Residence fees across the St. George campus, which often include mandatory meal plans, can run in excess of $10,000, while students attending York University, a school of comparable size, are able to purchase flex-meal plans with more affordable options available. The union could begin lobbying to make residence more affordable by voicing complaints and calling for residential fee changes.High residence costs are an obvious financial barrier to many students, and an important accessibility issue. Student who are forced by financial circumstances to commute to school spend valuable hours each day in transit and often find it more difficult to get involved and feel connected to their university.
Many people on campus are increasingly concerned about student apathy at U of T, and there is a clear but often unnoticed connection between this problem and the low portion of our student body who can live in residence.The second issue that needs to be addressed is that of the availability and suitability of university-affiliated off-campus housing, specifically the Chestnut Residence located near Dundas and University. Originally envisioned as a spill-over residence building fashioned from a converted hotel, Chestnut residents are faced with relatively long commutes compared to those students living in residences on campus while also having to pay fees of $12,000 or more.