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'It seemed so out of my control': Students reflect on their struggles due to delays at The Edition on Rosemary

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The Edition buildings pictured on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024.

For sophomore  Eden Aulis-Campos, her semester-long struggle with The Edition on Rosemary housing crisis still doesn’t feel real.

The apartment complex, which announced multiple construction-related move-in delays throughout the fall semester, allowed students to begin moving in mid-December, months after the original expected date. Students who had signed leases at the complex were forced to live in hotels or find alternative housing.

“Not having a permanent residence, it feels like I always had a weight on my shoulders,” Aulis-Campos said.

She lived in Aloft, one of the local hotel options The Edition put students in after initial delays. Aulis-Campos said she felt isolated from other students, which negatively impacted her mental health. Sophomore Parker Stiles said he also noticed the difficulties he faced in socializing and feeling like a part of the UNC community.

“I wish [The Edition] had done a little bit more to connect us and make us feel like we're still living with students because I think it's been an integral part of college,” he said.

Stiles lived in the Residence Inn, which is about a 15-minute drive to campus, compared to Aloft’s 5-minute drive. In December, he said he pulled out of his lease at The Edition and signed another at a different Chapel Hill apartment due to the stress and uncertainty of the situation.

The Edition provided students with a $50 daily stipend while they continued to pay rent until  Oct. 1, when students living in hotels stopped paying rent and receiving stipends.

Stiles said he was covering gas costs and also spending more money on food than he had planned because he didn’t have access to a kitchen in his hotel. As a result, he said he frequently had to order food. Aulis-Campos said she also had financial struggles because of transportation costs and food.

“I just was watching my bank account drain,” she said.

Sophomore Willow Grossman lived in an Airbnb off campus last semester rather than a hotel. She said that transportation difficulties hindered her participation in extracurricular activities, such as club swimming.

“I didn't go to a single practice all the first semester,” Grossman said. “Because the idea of driving back to campus and having to park on campus again and deal with all of it at night just wasn't worth it.”

Aulis-Campos said she had been asked to move out of her hotel room for a few days to make room for regular customers during a busy period. Unsure of where else to temporarily live, Aulis-Campos said she ultimately paid the hotel room cost out of pocket for those days to be able to stay.

Junior Meghan Bartlett, who also lived in Aloft, said she also paid the complex in order to stay. Unlike Aulis-Campos, however, Bartlett said she was able to receive reimbursement for those nights after fighting with The Edition.

Some students impacted by The Edition's construction said having to manage all of these issues harmed their mental health and grades.

“I would either talk to my friends or I would call my parents, and I just kind of broke down because I was so overwhelmed and I didn't really know what to do,” Bartlett said. “It seemed so out of my control.”

Despite these frustrations, she said she recognizes that certain circumstances were out of The Edition’s control. Still, she said she felt that there was more The Edition could have done to improve the situation and ensure their tenants were satisfied with what they were receiving.

Sophomore Georgia Burleson, Bartlett's roommate, said she thought The Edition’s communication was lacking. She, along with other students, said there were times when they went weeks without an update.

"We all begged them to send us more update emails, and they never did," Burleson said.

Many students have now moved into The Edition for the spring semester, and some have renewed their lease for the next school year.

Grossman said living in the apartment has been a good experience so far and said she has felt relieved to be settled and closer to campus. Still, she said it’s hard to forget what it took to get there.

“I'm happy to be here,” she said. “But it's just difficult to look past how awful that was in every single aspect.”

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