Shared dorms come with distinctive Chinese features.
A university in Chengdu has started to provide shared dorms since earlier this summer. Every day, many visitors to the university and the city check into the dorms. So far, 411 people have stayed in the shared dorms, and another 470 have paid a visit there.
A college student from Hebei came to Chengdu for summer internships. He stayed in a shared dorm for 18 days and spent a total of 425 yuan (about 64 USD) on his accomodation, which was surprisingly affordable for an intern like him. Another college student from Ningxia traveled to Chengdu and stayed in a shared dorm. With a campus card that allows her to shower, buy food and other items on campus, she said she felt like staying in her own university.
Shared economy has been developing rapidly in China in recent years. As a new economic form, it is penetrating into various fields. Besides shared dorms, China has also seen shared bikes, shared cars and shared umbrellas.
The success of shared dorms can be traced to policy support. Shuangliu, a district under the administration of Chengdu, launched the initiative earlier in June to target colleges, universities, scientific and other related institutes. It is aiming to make full use of the existing resources available at these institutions during the summer, when regular students are away from campus.
By offering shared dorms, the university in Shuangliu combines dorms with tourism to integrate and fully utilize resources in various fields. It is aimed at changing people's travel experience and promoting industrial upgrading in the region's cultural tourism sector, as well as innovation and entrepreneurship.
A vice president of the university that is offering the service said they were willing to open their resources to the public. Apart from dorms, they have also opened their research institute of culture and history, canteen and gymnasium, and have added security personnel to ensure campus safety.
Wen Rujie, Chairman of the Chengdu Tourism Association, pointed out that shared dorms may attract more innovative talent to the city. He also thinks that colleges and universities are abundant in resources; besides dorms and canteens, he hopes libraries, lab equipment and classrooms could also be opened to create more social benefits.
Deng Zhituan, a researcher at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, believes authorities should balance the public benefit and the sustainability of opening colleges and university. For instance, food prices in college canteens for student visitors and office workers may be set differently. Meanwhile, students' safety should be guaranteed after opening the campus.