With forced five-person quints in Stowe Hall, triples in Brunswick Apartments, and triples in East and West halls, students are adjusting to tighter accommodations while the College seeks solutions for next year.
"In general, I haven't heard as many complaints from students as I might have expected," Director of Residential Life Kim Pacelli wrote in an email.
"I have heard that the new triple Brunswick Apartments can feel a bit cramped for some students and that there isn't sufficient storage space for students' belongings," Pacelli wrote. "Also, some of the rooms in East and West have drawn some complaints."
Pacelli explained that this year's demand for increased capacity rooms resulted from the combination of first-year dorm renovations, a shift in housing preferences, and more upperclassmen choosing to go abroad for the spring semester than the fall.
"The renovations of the first-year residence halls undoubtedly present [many] of the challenges," she wrote.
"Though we've gained back Appleton and Hyde this year, they house fewer students than before because they now have elevators and more generous common areas," Pacelli explained. "Also, we're seeing overall a greater interest by upper-class students to want to live in college housing rather than move off campus," she wrote.
Vince Karakashian '09 and Jason Spector '09 said that their Stowe Hall quint has worked out well so far. They said that while sophomores generally receive the short end of the stick for housing, their room, even with five people, offers more space than expected.
While there were options to live in more spacious rooms off campus, Karakashian said that the location "really makes up for whatever minor inconvenience the space is."
"We had the option of living in Stowe Inn, as well. It's really nice being in the middle of campus, and space hasn't been all that much of a problem," Spector added.
Based on the number of people who entered the housing lottery with Stowe Hall as a top choice, Christian Adams '09 said he was lucky to receive a room and has made do.
"We weren't thrilled with the idea of having three people to a bedroom again," he said.
"It's not much bigger than a freshman dorm, but we got to pick who to room with and we get along well. It'd be great to have more space, but I think it's the people who make the difference," Adams said.
As for the Brunswick Apartments, Jackie Li '09 wrote in an email that while she was initially concerned about the space, she understood that the squeeze was necessary "to accommodate Bowdoin's growing student population."
Li explained that she does not feel the need for a larger living space now. Her main objection to living in Brunswick Apartments was how unkempt the room was when she moved in.
Overall, however, she said that the complaints she's heard about housing are minimal and to be expected.
"It's easy for everyone to say, 'Well, the cost of attending Bowdoin isn't exactly low, so I should be living in the most comfortable living space as possible,'" she wrote. "But if everyone is thinking that...then who is going to live in the less comfortable spaces? Although Bowdoin is an extremely small college, pleasing every single one of its students with lavish housing isn't exactly practical," Li wrote.
Pacelli said that housing should be more comfortable next year when the College completes the first-year dorm renovations. While Pacelli explained that plans are only in the preliminary stages, rooms in East and West halls are slated to become doubles, and the other dorms should return to normal capacity.
Pacelli added that Residential Life welcomes any feedback about housing.
"Though we will have first-year students living in all eight brick residence halls, I expect that we will have two floors, perhaps one each from East and West, available in the housing lottery for upperclass students to select," Pacelli wrote.
"We'll continue to look at the enrollment projections, as well, to determine if and where we'll need to continue using the increased capacity," she added.
Adams said that he hopes that next year's lottery, as an upperclassmen, will be better.
"I came from New York City and I thought that living in Maine would be more spacious," he said.
"I definitely didn't think I'd be cramped in the middle of Maine, but I guess that's what's happened."