Saturday, July 21st, 2018

Bayside Village sends students unsolicited suite offers

Posted on March 23, 2015 in Perspectives
By Brian Gordon

If you’re a USM student you recently received an email from Bayside Village comparing the costs of their apartments to the dorms on campus. Some of you may even have received an email confirming your tour of the apartment complex that you didnt even schedule.

The email suggests Bayside is a part of USM, but the two are not connected, so the organization is targeting USM students to try and fills their rooms.

Student email addresses are publicly available through the registrar’s office, even to companies competing with USM for student business.

“Directory information can be requested from the university, it’s not protected. The registrar has to provide it,” said Jason Saucier, director of student and university life.

Amenities in Bayside apartments are similar to those provided in Upper Class Hall at USM.

“We’re not worried, [about Bayside] we’ve already filled our apartments. We always fill our apartments. And that’s what they’re trying to do,” he said.

Students were indifferent to USM giving away their information. Kiya Caron, a criminology freshman, knew anyone could request information from the registrar’s office and then it’s just a matter of putting a period in between the first and last name and adding  ‘@maine.edu.’

She has no plans to move to Bayside. For one, she doesn’t think she could use financial aid for off-campus housing and she also prefers living in Gorham because of the community there.

“I’m involved with a lot of things on campus and my friends live on campus,” said Caron.

Resident assistants Taylor Carter and Miranda Piscopo, from Woodward and Anderson halls respective, have heard rumors about Bayside Village.

“They’ve got a drug problem. I don’t recommend it to students looking to move to Portland,” said Carter an economics and political science senior. “It seems sketchy.”

They were unfazed by the unsolicited email. “Oh yeah, I missed my appointment the other day,” Carter said with a chuckle.

He’s staying put in the dorms for his final year at USM where he enjoys free housing, a perk of being an RA.

Piscopo, a sophomore jazz performance major, said she would probably stay on campus for her time at USM as well, due to the community and perks of being a RA.

“RAs work to build relationships and create a sense of community,” said Saucier. “It’s a different feel than an apartment in Portland – you’re not on your own, someone is checking in on you.”

USM has 980 students in campus housing now, out of a capacity of 1,100. This number doesn’t include the now vacant Dickey Wood Hall, which was closed because there wasn’t enough demand for the space. The university retains 450 students in campus housing each year.

USM once had a dorm on Congress Street, Portland Hall, but it’s been closed since 2008. Saucier admits there is demand for a Portland dorm but couldn’t comment about any specific project.

President Flanagan recently mentioned that the university should hold onto the white houses lining Chamberlain Ave. in case of expanding housing there.

“You could see a day in the relative future that we would put a hall out in Portland, but to do it and be successful we’d want it to be in close proximity to campus,” said Saucier. “Ideally the Portland campus would be a great place for dorms.”

“There’s demand, it’s just having capital to do the project,” he said.

When asked how they obtained student emails, Stephanie Estabrook property manager at Bayside said, “We received your email from USM.”

During a tour of Bayside Village, leasing consultant Brianna Hamilton, echoed this sentiment. “USM gives your email to us. UNE doesn’t,” she said.

According to Saucier, USM never promotes Bayside as an alternative housing option and that they are a completely separate entity.

“I think they’re struggling as a company, so they’re trying everything marketing-wise to try and fill spots,” he said.

A Google search for “Bayside Village” reveals “Bayside Village: University of Southern Maine Student Housing,” giving the illusion that the two are connected. During a tour of the Bayside apartments there were USM coffee mugs and UNE swag strewn about on the welcome tables.

According to Hamilton, of the 400 residents that make up Bayside, 78 percent are students. Their full capacity is 500 people. She said the rumors of drugs and the police are always being called is blown out of proportion.

“People call the cops over disputes with their roommate taking their yogurt,” she said.

Hamilton said the latest mass email is the last one they’ll be sending out for a while.

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