On-campus housing at Binghamton University is in high demand, but Residential Life is taking precautions to decrease the number of freshmen placed in triple rooms.
According to Residential Life, a high number of returning students have chosen to stay on campus. Also, with enrollment rates for public universities on the rise due to the downturn of the economy, there are more freshmen attending BU than ever, all of whom are required to live on campus.
This increased number of returning students and incoming freshmen moving onto campus has created a bed shortage, forcing the school to place three freshmen in dorm rooms designated for two.
For the 2008-09 school year, there were 300 tripled rooms at the start of the fall semester. Consequently, more than 900 students of the freshmen class were put in triples, said Grace Hoefner, associate director of Residential Life.
During the spring semester, precautionary measures were put in place based on the expected increase of incoming students. Residential Life is taking these precautions in order to ensure that housing arrangements are in a better stipulation, she said.
According to Hoefner, for the 2009-10 school year, the University plans to triple 200 or fewer rooms, which will affect about 600 incoming freshmen. This figure is the usual number of triples the school has to create each year.
“It is not anything that we are not used to handling,” Hoefner said. “When we have that many triples, we break them down by the end of the first semester. Usually, we get vacancies right at the very beginning of the semester.”
These vacancies are created when students go on study abroad programs, transfer out of the school or make a last-minute decision to live off campus, Hoefner said. Furthermore, students who graduate in the fall semester create empty beds at the onset of the spring semester.
When a vacancy is available, one student in a triple closely located to the open room is given the opportunity to relocate. The tripled students are asked by Residential Life to make a decision on whom to remove from the triple. If this decision is not made, Residential Life intervenes.
“There have been times when some students do not want to de-triple and voluntarily stay tripled all year,” Hoefner said. “Interestingly enough, according to a study we did, the retention of students in tripled rooms last year was higher than those we always have each year. It [the living situation] did not affect students academically on the large scale.”
According to Hoefner, the East Campus construction that is affecting Newing College and Dickinson Community has resulted in 63 fewer beds this academic year compared to last year. However, enrollment management has made major adjustments in response to this shortage.
“We will be bringing seven more new buildings at the end of the project, which is five years approximately from now,” Hoefner said. “There will be 1,000 more beds on campus than we do have right now.”
The new Bingham Hall in Newing College will be completed in August, in time for the start of the fall 2009 semester.
Incoming students will be informed of their assigned living communities before the Beginnings 2009 orientation. Freshmen are scheduled to move onto campus on August 27.
Roommate and apartment assignments will be given out to freshmen by the first week of August, Hoefner said.