More than 300 students move off UW Madison campus; some struggling to find available housing

MADISON, Wis. — Since Sellery and Witte Halls were placed on lock down due to COVID-19 concerns, many students have chosen to move off campus.

UW Madison spokesperson Meredith McGlone said about 5% of the total student housing population have canceled their housing contracts since September 1, adding up to about 319 students.

Freshman Jack Greco is one of them.

“We certainly think we made the right call because living in here is a lot nicer than living in there right now,” he said.

Greco moved into the Towers on State just one day before the lock down went into effect. Greco was previously living in Witte Hall but said with the uncertainty of whether or not he would have a place to live for the year, he decided to terminate his housing contract and move off campus instead.

“We have the freedom to go and get food, go and see our friends that live in Stateside. There, we would be locked inside our room with no freedom at all,” Greco said.

Greco’s friend Nate Schinderle, who is also a freshman, said he’s glad he decided to live off campus this year but knows many students who live in the dorms who are now trying to leave to escape the mandatory quarantine the university has imposed on thousands of students.

“A lot of students are trying to leave all at once,” Schinderle said.

Schinderle lives in the Statesider building just across the street from Greco. Both Greco and Schinderle said they know a lot of students who currently live on campus that are now struggling to find off campus housing with available units.

“We had a little bit of availability. There were like a few vacant rooms but they said that once the dorms shut down, it’s completely full now,” Schinderle said.

“I asked someone at the front desk about the availability because I wanted to let my friends know if there were open units but they said they were backed up with a wait list of nearly 40 people,” Greco said.

Many of the property managers near the university that News 3 Now reached out to weren’t available to be interviewed but staff members at The James, The Hub, Lark at Kohl and Equinox all confirmed they’ve seen a major increase in the number of students trying to move out of the dorms.

“I know somebody whose mom called the Lucky, The Lux, Towers, Statesider, couldn’t find anything anywhere,” Greco said.

Greco said he’s thankful he decided to move out before the lock down so he doesn’t have to compete with hundreds of other students to find housing.

“They’re just waiting it out in the dorms and just hoping and praying that they’ll be able to find something before the dorms get closed,” Greco said.