Unlike some post-secondary institutions in British Columbia, Kwantlen Polytechnic University does not provide its students with student housing accommodations. This is quite surprising considering the number of international students who find themselves studying at KPU’s decentralized campuses each year.
Now more than ever, housing prices have skyrocketed and become a stressful problem for many young people trying to find themselves places to live. It doesn’t help when many of these young people are also students paying thousands of dollars a year to obtain their education.
Caitlin McCutchen, former chairperson for the Alliance of BC Students, noted in a media release letter from 2018 how “moving students onto campus is an innovative solution to the housing crisis … this improves students’ lives, helps universities, and also frees market rental spaces for those that need it.”
A couple of years ago, McCutchen, who was president of the Kwantlen Student Association, approached this situation and successfully negotiated with the provincial government to provide funding of $450 million for new student housing in B.C.
This project was never specific to KPU but more of a general building for students all over. Since then, Surrey has approved the project, and it will be partly marketed to students at Surrey Centre. Construction began in September and is expected to take years to complete.
According to a Daily Hive article, “the mixed-use institutional and student housing project will be built at 10240 City Parkway … [and] is immediately southeast of SkyTrain’s Surrey City Centre Station and bus exchange.”
KPU is widely known as a “commuter school,” with a variety of campuses dispersed across Metro Vancouver. The cost of one-bedroom apartments or home basement rentals being unreasonably high adds another stressful factor into an already stressful journey.
Affordable living is becoming more limited by the day, and adding a housing option near KPU for students would help many. Not only would the housing unit placement be in the perfect range of all the campuses, but being closest to the Surrey campus, it would provide the perfect in between for other campuses. Not to mention, it would be near the hub of restaurants, recreation, and shopping.
There could open opportunities to improve the KPU student community, as well as bringing more students to the campus. KPU is a great school, and many should be able to experience it without having to stress about finding a roof to live under.
Building a student housing complex would benefit students’ mental, physical, and financial well-being, and create a localized sense of community for many who feel like the school lacks that sometimes.