Students packed past capacity, again

Kelly Byer

Overcrowded dorms evoke mixed emotions

Fashion merchandising major Kayla Kennedy at left, middle childhood education major Brittani Adler, fashion merchandising major Lauren Carpenter and math education major Cori Verba live in an Eastway lounge. The freshman students say they like the living

Credit: DKS Editors

LISTEN to students’ comments about their unusual living situation.

Students living on campus have exceeded the number of available rooms for the second year in a row.

The overcrowding has prompted lounges to be converted, resident assistants to share and Van Campen Hall to be rented as a permanent residence.

“With our capacity and space, we’re really looking at about 104 percent occupancy is where we’re at right now,” said Betsy Joseph, director of Residence Services.

On Aug. 28, there were 6,245 students approved for on-campus housing. Not counting resident assistants, Joseph said there are 246 more students than permanent beds.

“We still have people applying, as well as telling us they’re not coming,” Joseph said.

After Sept. 2, information regarding no-shows and cancellations will help determine available rooms, Joseph said.

“Our plan and our intention is that as soon, as quickly as we’re able to identify no-shows, we’ll start moving students into permanent assignments,” she said.

The four residents of Fletcher Hall’s converted lounge said it has been convenient because they have met more students and lived with more space than they would in a typical room.

“I love it,” said Cori Verba, freshman math education major. “I like that we have more room. We can have more people in here, more room for our stuff.”

Residence Services moved students into permanent rooms after four weeks last year, and Joseph said they hope to do the same this year, starting with resident assistant rooms.

Students in temporary housing pay 25 percent less than the double occupancy rate, and lounges have the same amenities as a regular room, Joseph said.

With increased student and international enrollment, Joseph said there have also been more on-campus residents.

“Historically, we see anywhere from 100 to 150 students no shows every year,” Joseph said. “This year has been just unusual. We’re not seeing the same patterns that we’ve seen previously.”

During the last few weeks, Joseph said Residence Services turned down housing applications of students over the age of 21 not required to live on campus.

“I think, for the most part, people are understanding that based on the timing of when they applied that this is not an unusual occurrence, and lots of colleges and universities open up the school year with students in overflow housing,” she said.

Overflow housing was created in Wright, Koonce, Dunbar, Prentice, Verder, Allyn, Clark, Fletcher, Manchester, Lake, Olson and Korb Hall.

Four students live in each lounge, except in Korb Hall, where only three can be accommodated, Joseph said. Students are housed with resident assistants in different locations across campus.

Stowers said living in a resident assistant’s room has created tension.

“I just wish a first-year student wouldn’t have had to experience something like this,” she said. “I feel like I shouldn’t have even been dealing with these problems my first coming year.”

Joseph said she doesn’t think the overcrowding should be considered a problem, however.

“I’d much rather have students wanting to live on campus than to have lots of vacancies out there because then that would say we’re not doing something right,” she said.

Contact special projects reporter Kelly Byer at [email protected].