On August 23, 2023, NTV News interviewed the Vice-President of Memorial University’s Grenfell Campus, Dr. Ian Sutherland, regarding the current student housing shortage. See the transcript below:
Toni-Marie Wiseman: A lack of available accommodations in the Corner Brook area is creating some concerns for post-secondary students planning to attend Memorial University’s Grenfell Campus this fall, but the university administration is also worried about how the housing shortage could impact future growth on campus. NTV’s Don Bradshaw picks up that story.
Don Bradshaw: You could argue Memorial University’s Grenfell Campus is becoming a victim of its own success. Over the last decade, the Corner Brook-based post-secondary institution has added a number of new courses and degree-granting programs, and that’s boosted interest in students choosing to enroll here. But it’s also causing a strain on available accommodations. Currently, Grenfell has a waitlist of about 50 students seeking some type of housing for the fall semester and with just two weeks to go before classes begin, there’s a concern those who can’t find a place to stay may cancel their plans to study here.
Ian Sutherland: This is unfortunately not a new problem; we face this every year here at Grenfell. Our student residences are always full in the fall semester, there is always over-demand for the available spaces we currently have, but it is a risk if you cannot find a place in the residence or you cannot find a place in the City of Corner Brook or near enough by that you would not be able to come to study here.
Don Bradshaw: Dr. Sutherland is optimistic the waitlist will be greatly reduced in the coming weeks, but he says as the administration here considers future plans to introduce new programs and services, the lack of available housing is one of a number of factors that has to be considered.
Ian Sutherland: When we are creating new programs or thinking about the creation of new programs, we definitely have to think about the holistic experience for the student because it’s not just their housing: it’s also access to counselling services, access to medical, access to learning supports. As you grow student numbers, you have to look at the holistic growth that needs to be there so that every single student is supported.
Don Bradshaw: Grenfell currently provides on-campus housing to approximately 600 students. This dormitory opened a decade ago and was the latest expansion to student accommodations here, but more could be on the way.
Ian Sutherland: I think we do need to look now at what is next in terms of a student centre for Grenfell. In fact, we started some consultations on this last year to look at creating what would a new student centre that would include housing look like. You know, the most green, sustainable, amazing building you could possibly imagine. So, we started that process, but if Grenfell is going to grow physically, then we also need to be able to accommodate the students that want to be here.
Don Bradshaw: The university is compiling a list of available off-campus housing in the community that could meet the requirements of post-secondary students. Interested homeowners with space to rent are asked to contact Grenfell’s Office of Student Services.
Matt Barter is a fourth-year student in the Humanities and Social Sciences Faculty at Memorial University of Newfoundland, majoring in Political Science with a minor in Sociology. He enjoys reading thought-provoking articles, walks in nature, and volunteering in the community.