It sure beats couch-surfing, or using a laptop as a pillow on a library desk. Ryerson University now offers its commuter students a proper place to crash when school projects keep them on campus late into the evening, after the last train has left. Launched last September, the downtown Toronto hostel, located inside one of its campus residences, is already proving popular.
Nine rooms, outfitted with double beds, bathrooms and Internet access, can be booked by students for $35 to $45 a night – an idea borrowed from the University of British Columbia and University of Guelph, where campus hostels have been running for years.
“We had this space on the second floor of the residence building that was for visiting profs and the rooms sat empty most of the time,” says Valerie Bruce, coordinator for housing and residence life. “Ryerson’s commuter base is large and the cost of living around Toronto is expensive so we were trying to see what we could do to help.”
She says rules were created to try to deter partying and other unwanted behaviour, including limiting stays to three nights in a row and closing the rooms on Fridays and Saturdays. “We are interested in doing some test weekends now and, if it works out, we may keep it open seven days straight.”
Within the first four months, she had received more than 500 individual requests for stays. “Clearly this is something students want,” says Ms. Bruce. She says she’s planning to respond to the demand by approaching independent hotels near campus to ask about offering a discounted rate for students during the week or during hotel slow periods.