Alight in a Dark Place: The Housing Overflow Solution

Housing for the fall semester at most universities can, and oftentimes does, include students being put on a “waiting list” while housing availability is accessed. This has been historically true for Southern University as incoming and returning students vie for the limited on-campus housing options.

The Director for Residential Housing and Housing Apartments, Tracie Alcorn-Abraham, and her staff took it upon themselves to offer a temporary reprieve for students by contracting out an apartment complex, Alight. Located at 650 W McKinley St.. and at one point known as University Edge, Alight offers residents four, three, and two bedroom and bath apartments for less than eight hundred dollars a month. 

Being across town from Southern University, Alight offers a challenge for students who are at Alight and do not have a vehicle. To fix this, housing has arranged for a shuttle to ferry students back and forth. The students also have the option of using the city’s public transportation network at no cost. Destiny Banks, a junior from Natchez, Mississippi, says that this was a big reason she chose not to stay at Alight and just wait to see if she received a room, “The whole point of on-campus housing is so you don’t have to worry about driving to campus everyday.”

The housing department was able to arrange for students to stay in Alight and have their financial aid front the bill. With about a hundred students, Alight offers a temporary respite for students as the lease is only a single semester, meaning the students will have to arrange for housing on their own come the spring.

For out-of-state students, especially the enrollment process is often times long and tedious as students are unable to move in until all of their fees are paid for via financial aid. This combined with long wait times results in some students being stranded, unable to check into their room as night approaches, “This was an attempt to ease the overflow of the students and help expedite the enrollment process,” said Mrs. Abraham.

“I think it’s a good idea. I was on the waiting list last year and it sucks not knowing if you’re going to have a place to stay for the semester,” said Avery Waddell, a junior from Oakland California, when asked how he felt about Alight, “Enrollment is only going up so this is a solution while Southern builds more dorms.”

In the wake of building improvements and renovations across campus, the housing department is dedicated to ensuring that the demand for housing is met. According to Abraham, new housing options are expected to be built by Fall of 2021.

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