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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Freshman bulge tackles Res. Life room shortage

    Pre-nursing freshman Katie Matthews and pre-health education freshman Erin Wen sit in their temporary housing, a study lounge in Villa del Puente Residence Hall.
    Pre-nursing freshman Katie Matthews and pre-health education freshman Erin Wen sit in their temporary housing, a study lounge in Villa del Puente Residence Hall.

    With a 10-percent increase in enrollment and one of the UA’s largest-ever freshman classes, Residence Life has double-booked the occupancy of some residence halls, ousting students to sleep in study lounges.

    “”The U of A is in the process of creatively positioning students to ensure as many students as possible have the opportunity to live on campus,”” said Cynnamon Woodberry, vice president of programming of resident hall living.

    “”It is just a little tricky right now because so many people want to live on campus,”” she said.

    Kathryn Whiley, a theater arts freshman, said she was surprised and disappointed once she realized she was living in a study lounge on the third floor of the Posada San Pedro Residence Hall.

    “”I was talking with my mom, and I knewI could either stay in the study lounge or wait to be assigned to live with a resident assistant, which I didn’t want to do because I didn’t want to make an upperclassman angry and would rather live with freshmen,”” Whiley said.

    “”I was disappointed not to have a real dorm, but I am happy to have housing because I know that a lot of people are still on wait lists.””

    Sharing a room with two other girls, Whiley said she and her roommates have been told that the housing is only temporary, but temporary could mean one week, two months or the duration of the school year.

    “”One girl came in and said, ‘Hey, you took our study lounge,’ and we know that she was just kidding, but it does suck to know that we don’t have our own space,”” Whiley said.

    Although the study lounge is larger than average dorm rooms, Whiley said one of the biggest problems is not having closet space in a room that houses three people. Another problem is that Whiley and her roommates do not know if, when and where they will have to move.

    “”Hopefully it will be down the hall or in a nearby building and not across campus,”” she said. “”It is going to suck to have to move, but we made ourselves at home because there was no sense in staying packed if we don’t know when we’re going.””

    Whiley’s situation is not uncommon. Arizona-Sonora Residence Hall will have three people to a room for the entire school year, and some resident advisers will be sharing their rooms with a new student temporarily, said Patrick Call, Student Life associate director.

    The hall has 84 extra people this semester, Call said. Half of them will be housed with resident advisors, and the other half will be in lounges and guest apartments temporarily.

    Even with the bulge being accommodated, 800 students are still on a waiting list, he said.

    University of Arizona President Robert Shelton said that the application rate for residence halls has grown by about 28 percent, to 6,600, since last fall.

    With so many new students, a few changes have been made to accommodate the increase, including dorm room renovations and the addition of general-education classes, he said.

    Not all students who currently live in residence halls have felt the impact of overcrowding like Whiley has.

    Alayna Baron, an education freshman, lives in Coronado Residence Hall with only one roommate. She said she hasn’t been burdened by the problem.

    “”Moving in has been fun and crazy,”” Baron said. “”I heard about the increase of freshmen this year, but I didn’t have any trouble getting my dorm.””

    Michelle Schafer, an architecture freshman living in Yuma Residence Hall, agreed but said the overflow affected other aspects of her move.

    “”There has been nowhere to park to be able to move in,”” she said.

    Call said he expects the situation to clear up within the first couple of weeks.

    “”The UA is not denying students in the chance that space could open up in the university, and although we are over capacity right now, we would never want to deny students early and find out we could have accepted them into the dorms,”” he said.

    To help avoid similar problems in the future, the UA is working with architecture and construction companies to build residence halls that will add an additional 1,200 on-campus rooms by 2010, Call said.

    “”We want to continue the goal of housing as many people as possible,”” he said

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