MONROE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — For some colleges, it’s still winter break. East Stroudsburg University students return back to campus next week for the spring semester.
But some don’t have anywhere to go during the break. As Eyewitness News reporter Cody Butler explains, those students are taking part in a pilot program that benefits them and the university.
A chill is in the mid-January air. Residence halls are closed waiting for students to return.
“Being able to know I have a warm bed to go home to is… I mean it’s what we consider essential and some students don’t really have that,” senior Rachel Williams said.
East Stroudsburg University is launching a pilot program. It’s called Housing-Work Exchange Program. It allows students who may not have a place to go over Thanksgiving, winter, and spring breaks an opportunity to stay on campus in a traditional or suite-style room in a dorm.
“What we wanted to do is try to address some of the insecurity in a way that helps students who don’t have the financial means to be able to reside on campus,” Curtis Dugar, director of residence and dining services, said.
The work exchange part of the program allows students to work four hours for every day they stay. Those hours are completed by the end of the academic year. Students serve the college community by managing study halls, collect recycling, weekend trash pick-up, hall decorations, etc.
“Going to be helpful for not only person growth but scholastic achievement. Those service hours will be coming in handy,” Dugar said.
It was brought to the University’s attention that students were sleeping in their cars during academic breaks.
“So being able to provide that over winter breaks and over spring breaks and over Thanksgiving, I think it just gives them that sense of security,” Williams said.
Students are able to stay in traditional halls or suite styles to help fulfill and educational goal in a time of need.
So far seven students are part of the program.