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Utah State University Works To Help Displaced Students

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Christopher Campbell
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Managers at Aggie Factory, an apartment complex under construction, told their tenants it would not be ready by the time the school year started.

More than 300 Utah State University students have been looking for a place to live after owners of an apartment complex told their tenants the apartments will not be ready in time for the school year, which begins Aug. 31.

Utah State University student Wyatt Brown had spent three to four weeks before he found a place to live. He said the last couple of weeks were especially difficult.

Around that time managers at Aggie Factory, an apartment complex that is still under construction, told their tenants it would not be ready by the time the school year started.

“There’s just a crazy amount of demand I guess,” Brown said. “It’s just very hard to get in that first spot. I guess I didn’t get into a couple because I was the next application or the second group to apply before a different group of people.”

Anne Spackman, coordinator of USU Housing’s administrative office, said this time of year is usually busy for the department because it has to deal with last minute changes like students getting different housing assignments, leaving the university or submitting last-minute applications.

“But...when the e-mail came out as far as the notification from Factory...our phones rang off the hook with people who were frustrated, trying to figure out what they needed to do,” Spackman said.

“We felt very bad for the students that were involved,” said Steve Jenson, USU’s housing and residence life senior executive director. “[We] feel like we needed to do everything we could on our part to try to help accommodate these students, and so we’ve been working very diligently for the last week trying to figure out what we can do to try and help these students.”

Jenson said some measures the housing department has taken include reconfiguring housing meant for graduate or married students so single undergraduates can live in them, converting two study rooms into living areas, and giving students with private rooms a financial incentive to share their place with someone else. He said only five or six students agreed to share.

Jenson said he thinks the demand has gone down because some students who initially needed a space found something else.

In the end, Brown was able to buy a contract from a friend of one of his friends.

“I mean end result was I had to end up settling with this place that is subpar,” Brown said. “But it’ll do I guess.”