ASG hosts first Housing Fair

Oliver Ortega

Video by Annie Chang/Daily senior staffer

The Associated Student Government held its first annual Housing Fair for Northwestern students Wednesday to showcase off-campus housing options.

The event, organized by ASG’s Community Relations Committee and held in the Louis Room at the Norris University Center, featured representatives from several property management companies in Evanston. Between 200 and 400 students stopped by from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., said ASG Community Relations vice president Steven Monacelli, a former Daily columnist.

Evanston Place Apartments and Adas/Spatz Properties were among the six real estate companies present. There were also representatives from apartment-finding service Apartment People and local furniture store World Marketplace. The Interfaith Housing Center of the Northern Suburbs provided information on tenant rights and housing policies.

Monacelli said the fair allowed students to explore their off-campus housing options, giving them an opportunity to comprehensively compare their choices.

“We wanted to try to fill in the gaps and make it easier for students to find housing,” the Communication junior said.

ASG promoted the event on Facebook and with fliers posted throughout Norris.

Communication junior Mori Einsidler, who attended the fair, said she thinks the University should provide more resources for students looking to live off-campus.

“If the University had some sort of aggregator or database of all the available units for students to check out, that would make it a lot easier,” Einsidler said.

The fair is the most recent initiative to provide support to students seeking to live off campus after tensions between students and Evanston officials ignited last year when city officials announced the enforcement of the “brothel law.”

Although Monacelli said student attendance at recent meetings and forums regarding off-campus housing and the brothel law has been lackluster, he said he expected students to attend the fair.

Adas/Spatz Properties owner Andrew Spatz said he participated in the fair to promote some of his new properties to students, who make up most of his clientele. He said the brothel law has not affected his business, but he disagrees with a proposed ordinance that would require landowners to license their housing in the same way businesses must be licensed to operate.

“The city needs revenue and this is one way they plan on getting it,” Spatz said.

Although the fair emphasized off-campus options for students, representatives from University Housing, Residential Life and the Residential Housing Association were also present. University Housing associate director Mark D’Arienzo said it was important to provide students with information about on-campus housing while they explored off-campus options at the fair.

“When a student is weighing his or her own options, there should be a way to compare (them),” D’Areinzo said.

Weinberg sophomore Adrian Andronic said he thinks the University provides adequate information about off-campus living options and found the inclusion of a retail store at the fair helpful.

“It’s nice to know what’s around here,” Andronic said.

The property management companies at the fair only offer apartments for rent. Monacelli said ASG sought out companies that were larger and managed many properties. Because most landlords with houses in the area own a only few, he said house landlords were not contacted to attend the fair. He said that he hopes the fair will expand next year to include more landlords.

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