Crowded dorms make residential life not all it's cracked up to be
Published: Monday, October 1, 2007
Updated: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 15:02
A student wakes up to his roommate's grimy feet inches from his nostrils. His other roommate's snores echo in their tiny cement dorm room. Students residing in built up triples have to live under these less than desirable circumstances.
The University of New Hampshire has been working towards diminishing the amount of uncomfortable living conditions and has become more selective in accepting students due to the lack of space. But despite the university's efforts, students are still feeling cramped.
"They pack us in like hamsters and do not care if we have space to move or live, just as long as we have a room with a bed," said Jill Torigian, a junior majoring in pre-med.
Torigian, who lived in a triple her sophomore year, said her room was not a forced triple, but that she still felt crowded, uncomfortable and with very little space to live.
"I had no where to put all my belongings. My clothes were all over the room since there was basically one closet for three of us."
Although there are still built-up triples this year, the UNH Office of Admissions is making an effort to ease the packed residence halls.
Robert McGann, director of admissions, said that last year 3,079 students were accepted, as compared to 2,660 students in 2007. He said the acceptance rate this year is 59 percent, while last year it was 67 percent. The acceptance rate in 2000 was 76 percent. UNH has become more selective than it has in the past, mostly due to demographics.
"More students are applying to the same number of spots that UNH has to offer [so becoming accepted] has become more competitive," said a UNH admissions official.
Since 2000, applications to UNH have increased by 50 percent. One-third of the applications are New Hampshire residents. It costs about $19,000 to attend UNH for in-state students. It is around $32,000 a year for out-of-state students.
With the cost of private schools and tuition prices increasing everywhere, UNH looks more and more inviting to applicants. That's a big reason for the number of students to accept UNH's offer to attend, McGann stated.
While narrowing down the number of students to accept, UNH admissions looks at whether a student is attending the university for a four year degree. The admissions office also looks at whether a student has taken four or more math and science classes and three or more social sciences in high school as part of major admissions criteria.
UNH has always been welcoming of all student applications and the number of accepted freshmen in the past has foreshadowed the housing problem that exists today. There have just been too many enrolled students and now the residence halls are unable to withstand the flow of incoming freshmen.
"More students have accepted the offer to come to UNH than the assumed percent would accept," said McGann, in regard to last years housing crunch.
Last fall residence halls were bursting at the seams, and were unable to house all of the accepted incoming freshmen.
"Last year we had to use most of the floor lounges for student housing," said William Conk, director of housing. Conk also explained how they are using about 300 double rooms as built up triples this year.
According to the UNH Media Relations Web Site press release dated June 2, 2006, there were a few incentives put out last year by UNH housing officials to move into one of the on-campus apartments or off campus all together in order to make room for the incoming freshmen class. Free parking and money towards books for the next year were a couple of the offerings.
The New England Center was also almost affected by this over-capacity. The idea was to transform the hotel to house students in order to relieve the stress of the other residence halls.
However, enough students took the incentives so UNH would not have to use the hotel. Erika Mantz stated in the online UNH Media Relations website on June 2, 2006 that "while housing on campus will be crowded, the university will be able to accommodate students within existing residence halls. This will require built-up triples and study lounges…"
Approximately 12,000 undergraduate students are enrolled at UNH. There are 21 residence halls on campus, including the two new SERC (Southeast Residential Community) halls located near the mini dorms. There would be 22 halls, but Fairchild is out of commission this fall due to renovations. These dorms hold around 5,300 full-time students. There are also the on-campus apartments that house around 1,400 students.
While built-up triples and lounges are able to accommodate the mass amounts of students, many of them believe that it is not a comfortable way to live.
"I have not personally lived in a built-up triple, but a lot of my friends freshman year did," said Haley Rogers, a junior studying pre-vet. "I remember hanging out in their rooms and not being able sit anywhere because there were three beds, three dressers, and three desks jammed into one tiny square room."
Madison Proper, a junior majoring in hospitality management who lived in a built-up triple her freshman year, also said overcrowding in the room was a problem.
"At first it was ok [living in a triple] and then one of our roommates didn't get along with my other roommate and me and it just became uncomfortable because of living in such close quarters with them," said Proper. "We always had to see her because all three of us lived in that box of a room."
The University of New Hampshire; it's where you live, and its one crowded place. But with UNH being more selective, it has helped to break down some of the forced triples and to decrease the overall student population to improve the quality of student life on campus.
However, some students still are not satisfied.
"I need room to move and I can't with two other people fighting for the same tiny space," said Torigian.