KSU to lease Geneva hotel for study abroad

Rebecca Mohr

Student complaints lead to new housing closer to downtown

Kent State’s Board of Trustees recently agreed to lease a hotel in Geneva to house the students studying abroad there.

The $830,000-per-year investment, approved in mid-November, comes after complaints from students participating in the program.

“This past year was the only year we haven’t had a waiting list,” said Mary Anne Saunders, executive director of the Office of International Affairs. “There are two reasons for that: one, the economy and, second, students are coming back saying the place was a dump. I met with students the last three semesters, and every one of them has said the housing has got to be changed.”

The Hotel Rousseau in downtown Geneva is seven stories – the first two floors are for classrooms and administration, and the rest is housing for students and faculty.

“The theory is, if the students are in town, they have far fewer transportation problems,” Saunders said. “That was one of the complaints about the old housing – it was so far away from town, and students ended up paying more money.”

Other advantages besides the updated housing and location include the possible expansion of the program.

“The new hotel has about 80 beds,” said Kim Chhay, operations manager of study abroad in the Office of International Affairs. “The old housing had only about 22 beds. We have been turning people down because of space limitations.”

Saunders agreed that more Kent State students will have the opportunity to go to Geneva.

“We will be able to accommodate about 40 Kent State students and have sub-contracts with other universities to fill the rest of the beds,” Saunders said.

The general feeling around the Office of International Affairs is excitement for the new developments, Chhay said.

“We are all looking forward to it. We have a positive attitude about the new center and what it can do for Kent State University,” Chhay said. “It will be ready for students starting in the Fall 2010.”

Contact Office of International Affairs reporter Rebecca Mohr at [email protected].