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ResLife adjusts to record number of students on campus

September 24, 2021

Amira Oguntoyinbo
OVERFLOW: ResLife has changed some rooms to fit more students than in previous years, and has converted three study rooms in first-year bricks into single bedrooms.

The highest number of students in the history of the College are currently living on campus, with 1,814 residing in College housing. This record is a result of more students taking time off in the 2020-2021 academic year and juniors choosing to forego study abroad this semester due to COVID-19 impacting programs around the globe. With approximately 150 more students living on campus than the average from 2010-2020, the Office of Residential Life (ResLife) has modified rooms across campus into student housing.

Last spring, ResLife began planning where to house additional on-campus students as the high fall enrollment numbers became apparent. Director of Residential and Housing Operations Lisa Rendall said that the office prioritized solving the puzzle of housing all students on campus in the order of the housing lotteries and assignments.

“The lottery was late this year—it was in June—and so we had this internal deadline to figure out where we were going to put upper class beds with enough time to notify students where they were going to be,” Rendall said. “So the upper class beds addition was the first focus because we had that deadline.”

Buildings and rooms converted to upperclass housing included turning 84/86 Federal Street back into student housing after a three year hiatus and adding beds to Stowe Inn, Russwurm African American Center, 30 College Street and Reed House.

ResLife began assessing available first year housing in the beginning of summer, after the size of the class of 2025 was solidified. First years were notified of their housing assignments at the beginning of August.

“We knew we’d also have a big first year class, and we’re committed to keeping our first years in the first-year bricks, so we added some quints to the first-year class buildings,” Rendall said. “[The delay] gave us some time to see if those spaces were going to be available and how many quints we actually needed.”

To accommodate the large first year class, ResLife created six quints in Moore Hall and converted three study rooms in the first year bricks into single bedrooms. This process took place over the summer and involved adding a lock, drywall, additional soundproofing and furniture.

Mari Blay ’25 was surprised after learning she was assigned a quint. While she and her four roommates unbunked the beds and rearranged the furniture in an attempt to create more space, they still feel the effects of these tight living quarters in comparison to most of their peers.

“Everyone has the same reaction, ‘Oh, you’re in one of them?’,” Blay said. “There’s six [quints], but if you think it’s actually quite a bit of people—30 people living in a pretty cramped way.”

Axel Romell ’25 is living in a converted single in Appleton Hall. Though he expected to have roommates during his first year, he has been enjoying it so far.

“I was very surprised because I thought everyone got a double,” Romell said. “Whenever I have downtime, it’s really nice to be in here by myself.”

ResLife is in the process of converting three study rooms in Chamberlain Hall into upperclass bedrooms yet to be completed. Issues with stalled materials caused the orders of additional beds to come in later than anticipated, and the locks compatible with OneCards are in short supply.

After only one class year was fully present this past fall and three were on campus in the spring, Rendall feels that a densely populated campus reaps more rewards than inconveniences.

“Students have been really understanding that we have a lot of students on campus, and we needed to make space,” Rendall said. “I feel like students are so happy to be on campus and meeting people.”


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