To the Editor,
I am writing to express my gratitude to the MDI Biological Laboratory for helping us at the College of the Atlantic this fall with a common local housing problem: shoulder season rentals.
As the tourism season has lengthened over recent years and the local housing market has evidenced shifting dynamics, it has become increasingly difficult for our off-campus students to find housing that matches up with our academic year.
All first-year COA students live in campus dorms, but the majority of our second-, third- and fourth-year students rent houses or apartments in Bar Harbor and other Mount Desert Island towns.
Increasingly, returning students have found themselves without a place of their own to stay in during the month of September — and often into October — while they wait for their rental housing to become available. In fact, about half of the 200 or so COA students who rent locally are dealing with this issue.
We’re concerned with this trend and actively looking for solutions because it leaves many students moving around a lot at the beginning of the academic year, which can present a challenge to them as they try to perform at their academic best.
This fall, our partners at the lab made available for our students four leased cottages at their Hamilton Pond property, with a total of 20 beds. The students that have been staying there have felt comfortable and secure, and say that the lodgings are cozy and quiet, perfect for delving into their studies.
This is just the sort of flexible housing that students need while waiting for their regular rentals to open up, and we want to applaud the MDI Biological Laboratory for helping us think outside of the box as we begin finding solutions to this problem. It’s a great feeling to have local partners who are willing to work with us in this regard, and we are grateful.
President, College of the Atlantic