The Kansas University Student Housing Department offers an alternative to those students not going home for the holidays.
Kansas University sophomore Peng Si won't have many fellow students around campus over the holiday weekend. But he will have a place to stay.
Si is one of about 180 students taking advantage of a KU housing program that allows residence hall students to stay on campus during holiday breaks.
"At first, it can be a lonely time," Si said. "You don't see lots of people here. When you do work on campus, there is nobody around, and that can make you feel sad."
Until recently, Si likely would have had to move off campus and find temporary housing to stay in Lawrence during extended academic breaks. But now, a KU Student Housing program allows residence hall students to stay in Templin or Lewis halls during breaks.
Randall Timm, assistant director of Student Housing, said that keeping the two residence halls open during academic recesses was another way the university was trying to meet the needs of all students.
"A few years ago, they started a new contract for students that have to stay over," Timm said. "Students that live in the halls can stay in the hall for free and those students from other halls, we ask them to pay the housing fee."
For students staying over the breaks, all of the usual services, with the exception of dining services, are provided. Kitchens are available in the halls for those wanting to cook their own meals.
Hall security is provided 24 hours a day, rather than the usual 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. schedule.
"We create a data base and the data base list is at the door, and students have to check in at the door," Timm said.
Before KU instituted the new plan, a minimum number of students had to sign up on a list well in advance for the halls to remain open during holiday breaks. Many times, students with last-minute changes could not make adequate arrangements.
"We're not asking them (the students) to come to us any more -- we're going to them," Timm said. "It's a service, and student services are big on campus now."
As a full-time complex director for Templin and Lewis halls, Melissa Sandfort doesn't see any real advantages to remaining on campus while other students have left for the holidays, but she said the program was a great service just the same.
"I don't know that there are really advantages to it, because the students are not going to get to go home for the holidays," Sandfort said. "We recognize that the students are far from home, so we try to do things to make their stay enjoyable. They're very little things, but they're a gesture."
Templin and Lewis halls also will remain open for students during the summer school session.