SGA lays groundwork for off-campus housing site

Jonathan Lintner

Plans to construct an off-campus housing website for WKU students are off the ground, and members of the Student Government Association plan to keep them there this time.

Executive Vice President Kendrick Bryan said the SGA will develop a website in-house and use open-source software, possibly launching an early version as soon as March.

“The SGA has noticed that we do not have a one-stop shop for off-campus housing listings,” Bryan said. “We think the search should be more convenient, and we hope this website will alleviate the stress.”

Cory Dodds, SGA’s director of information technology, will develop and maintain the site. He said it will “definitely” work out this time around, as opposed to the last time SGA attempted to build an off-campus housing site with outside organizations.

One of those former options was Off Campus Partners, a group SGA first considered in spring 2010. Former SGA President Kevin Smiley again pushed for the company in a Herald letter to the editor last September. Smiley said he had just moved to Memphis, Tenn., and using OCP made the transition an “easy process.”

But Dodds said multiple factors have prevented WKU from using OCP or an equivalent.

“Before, some of the other options we were looking into were way too expensive and out of reach for SGA, and the ones that weren’t too expensive we didn’t feel would adequately serve the Bowling Green community,” Dodds said.

SGA President Colton Jessie said listings for the new website will initially be free for landlords and apartment complexes to post. In addition, SGA will reach out to the community to create a comprehensive list.

Nothing is official yet, Bryan said, as Dodds hasn’t signed a contract with SGA that would expand his role within the organization and set the project in motion. Bryan said he expected that deal to be done within two weeks, at which point construction can begin both on the site and a list of local landlords.

Dodds said the website should be fully functional by the end of April.

“We’re trying to take it slow so we can get rid of any errors or bugs along the way — really do it right,” he said.

Just a sophomore, Dodds said the plan is for him to maintain the site until he graduates.