Provost Jody Funion has turned his office, a yurt on Schaaf lawn, into a bed and breakfast for students disgruntled with their living situation in residence halls.
“You know, I’ve always said I’m here for whatever students need,” Funion said. “And it seems like students need an escape from the residence halls.”
Funion’s original yurt was finished at the beginning of this school year as an office space meant to be more accessible to students. Over the course of the fall semester, it turned into a fun hang out spot for students and eventually a place to spend a night away.
Students began sleeping in the yurt when Funion offered residents of the Saylor-Ackermann basement a place to stay during the yearly flooding.
“It just kind of snowballed from there,” Funion said.
Halfway through this semester, two more yurts were built to accommodate the influx of students, but Funion says he’s still having trouble keeping up.
“I think I’m currently housing about a hundred students each night,” Funion said. “I’ve had to hire staff to help with the cleaning and cooking, but the student reactions are what keep me going.”
Because the yurt was originally meant to be an office space for Funion, many students staying in the bed and breakfast are sleeping on office furniture and, in some cases, the ground.
“I actually prefer the cold, hard ground to the beds offered by ResLife,” Janet Smith, a sophomore sociology major who was originally staying in Saylor-Ackermann, said. “Plus, it’s right in the middle of campus.”
The yurt offers complimentary continental breakfast for patrons, including a variety of coffee and tea and vegetarian and vegan options. On Friday mornings, Funion and his staff get up early and cook made-to-order omelets and pancakes.
Students won’t miss the programming off
ered in residence halls either, as Funion does stand-up comedy nightly in the main yurt.
Although the yurt has swayed from its original purpose, Funion said running the bed and breakfast has fulfilled his hope of becoming closer with students and understanding their needs. He hopes he can do even more for students next semester.
“We’re actually planning to add a restaurant over the summer,” Funion said. “My team and I are working to make it possible to pay for food as well as reservations with CapBucks.”
The bed and breakfast is so popular that reservations are booked well into next year, and many students are planning on making the yurt their primary home for the coming semester.