Elon University will be closed following Winter Term from Jan. 25 to Feb. 2, 2020 for Fake Break, according to Residence Life. Like Thanksgiving, Winter and Spring Break, students are not able to remain in residence halls unless they submit a formal request.
Though most North Carolina universities remain open for shorter breaks such as Thanksgiving and Spring, Elon shuts down for security, according to Director of Residence Life Marquita Barker.
“There’s not a lot of people here, and for safety reasons we don’t want students on campus with no faculty and staff around,” Barker said.
According to Barker, Elon breaks are also a good opportunity for campus construction or repairs.
“Sometimes when the university needs to get in, do major repairs, updates and maybe HVAC or whatever they need to do, they like to do it during the break when students are gone,” Barker said.
While it might be easier for some students to drive or fly home often, others face challenges travelling.
“If a student financially can’t afford a plane ticket or to go home, whether they’re an international student or if they just can’t go home for personal reasons, that’s usually some of the more common reasons that we have,” Barker said.
Barker said there are specific options listed on the break request form, found on the Elon self service website, which allows some students to stay.
While not everyone is approved, Barker said Residence Life strives to accommodate those remaining on campus for Fake Break or other breaks. According to Barker, 98% of the 914 requests to remain on campus for Fake Break last year were approved.
“If you have a transportation reason or a financial reason, if you’re an athlete or international student, those are most of the people who are asking to stay and we approve those,” Barker said. “But sometimes students just want to stay to stay, and that’s not what we’re doing.”
Sophomore Shreeja Shah, resident assistant for the International Living Learning Community in the Global Neighborhood, said some of her residents might have to stay. While not an international student herself, Shah said she understands the concerns international students have.
“It’s less about halls being closed because you can request to stay, but it’s the dining halls being closed that can really become a struggle for a lot of these students,” Shah said. “They have a meal plan but they’re having to pay out of pocket for meals three times a day every single day. And just not having people here, it is very difficult for a lot of these people to figure out what to do.”
Shah said as an RA, she is expected to remain on campus for either Fall Break or Fake Break, but that there is no requirement to remain on campus if none of her residents do.
According to Shah, there was no formal discussion of students remaining on campus during her training from Residence Life.
“I really feel like it’s something they probably should bring up,” Shah said. “We just know that sometimes there’s students that stay.”
Shah said she will hold a hall meeting before Thanksgiving Break, where she plans to advise any students who will remain on campus for the break about available resources.
According to Residence Life, students who live in residence halls can apply to remain on campus for breaks via the self service site under the applications and forms tab.
Students who submit a request will receive an answer within two business days of submission, according to Residence Life.
Students in on-campus apartments do not need to fill out the form, as apartments remain open during breaks.