Class of 2018 Prompts Housing Concerns

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Class of 2018 Prompts Housing Concerns

The size of the freshman class has raised significant concerns over the availability of on-campus housing. (Maria Ancona/The Ram)

The size of the freshman class has raised significant concerns over the availability of on-campus housing. (Maria Ancona/The Ram)

The size of the freshman class has raised significant concerns over the availability of on-campus housing. (Maria Ancona/The Ram)

The size of the freshman class has raised significant concerns over the availability of on-campus housing. (Maria Ancona/The Ram)

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By Erin Shanahan

Fordham’s incoming Class of 2018 is the largest the university has ever served.

The class of 2018 consists of 2,246 students. In addition to this outstanding number, the university’s Admissions Department reports an acceptance rate of 47.1 percent — nearly 41,000 applications, and a little over 19,000 acceptances. The Class of 2018 is also one of the most diverse.

“The new class hails from 43 U.S. states and the District of Columbia,” comments Dr. Patricia Peek, director of undergraduate admission, “We have over 50 students from the Southwest region of the United States, and we have 140 students from the West, including 120 from California alone.  We have enrolled over 150 international students from countries including Brazil, India, Myanmar and Venezuela.”

Compared to the Class of 2017, the size of this year’s freshman class has increased by 15 percent.  Out of the 2,246 freshman, 1,678 attend the Rose Hill campus, and 568 attend the Lincoln Center campus.

While the size of the freshman class presents benefits, such as an increase in diversity, it has provided its fair share of troubling situations as well.  One problem many students worry about is housing. However, Dean Kim Russell, assistant dean of students and director of Residential Life, explained that the large freshman class did not make housing assignments more difficult this year.

“It certainly took us some more time, but we do everything very intentionally through our room selection process,” Russell said. “It’s a very well-thought-out process whether we are placing 100 students or 20,000 students. I wouldn’t say it was any more difficult; it just took some more time.”

Russell said that, with the addition of the new residence hall, crowding has not been an issue this year, citing that the number of converted triples has actually lowered from last year. She also believes that next year’s housing situation will not be as cramped as some are predicting.

“We are always looking at our housing numbers, and we are always looking at how to accommodate the current students we already have,” she said. Russell was not able to speak about any future plans or options, but assures everyone that the administration will be in communication with students about these options as soon as possible.

Resident Assistants, on the other hand, know the freshman housing situation well and worry for the future of the class.

“It’s a little scary for next year,” commented Loschert Hall RA, Jack Murray. “The Class of 2018 might not be able to have the luxury of such space that upperclassmen have gotten in the past. However, it’s exciting to note that growing class sizes mean, logically, more new residence halls will be required. If Loyola is the new standard, we have so much to look forward to for buildings in the coming years.”

The new Loyola residential hall has caused much excitement, and some envy, from the student body. Loyola houses the 120 Manresa Scholars in a luxurious renovated hall that includes spacious rooms, renovated bathrooms, building-wide AC, large study commons and a social lounge with a flat screen TV. Father Philip Florio, S.J., is the Jesuit in residence.

“The Class of 2018 has the privilege of being the first to reside in Loyola Hall,” RA Peter Hulburt from Alumni Court South remarked when discussing next year’s housing challenge. “And while housing selection will most definitely be a challenge over the next summer, I am confident that this year’s freshman class will be able to live comfortably next year, on or off campus.”

Current Fordham residents worry that the influx of students entering Fordham will not only affect the residential halls, but the on-campus facilities as well.

“I have the fullest confidence that ResLife will do its best to allow incoming freshmen to have the most fulfilling and comfortable experience possible,” commented the RA from Queens Court, Chris Hazlaris, FCRH ’16.

“Though I am worried that replacing the senior class with yet another gigantic freshman body will continue to overload facilities and eating establishments on campus,” continued Hazlaris, “I have the utmost confidence and respect for the central staff at Fordham and know that they will work their hardest to accommodate the number of freshmen with which they are provided.”

Loyola RA Delia Grizzard, FCRH ’15, agreed with Chris Hazlaris, and is optimistic about the increased class size. “The caf is really crowded, certainly,” she added, “but more students also means so many more people interested in joining clubs, starting student initiatives, and hopefully enacting change and growth on campus. That is definitely something I’m excited about, and I’m really eager to see what freshmen bring to the art, music and theater culture on campus.”

Some RAs are feeling a moderate strain regarding their responsibilities from the large freshman class.

“I personally do feel that the increased size of the freshman class has made some of my responsibilities more difficult,” Martyrs’ Court Jogues RA, Ellysa Smith, FCRH ‘15, stated. “This year I am responsible for roughly 45 freshman in my hall, which is more than I had last year. This translates to more one-on-one meetings and potentially more participants at programming events.”

Smith continues by explaining how it affects her duties as an RA.

“This translates to more one-on-one meetings and potentially more participants at programming events. With that said, as a Residential Assistant, I just have to be more strategic with my time and the types of events that I am planning so that my freshmen can get the best experience.””

Although the Class of 2018 is significantly  larger than previous incoming classes, the admission rate at Fordham has remained relatively constant at 47.1 percent versus 47 percent in 2013.

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Erin Shanahan is a Contributing Writer for The Fordham Ram.