With the increase in the number of students at the university, the Hamden Planning and Zoning Commission hopes Quinnipiac will provide more on-campus housing. But the university has no active plans to construct new dorms.
Of the 1,672 current freshman students who were eligible to select housing for next year, 139 were left without housing at the end of the day on April 4. By April 7, when the leftover students had to reselect housing, there were 122 students who still needed housing. Now, nearly two weeks later, only seven current freshmen need housing assignments and Associate Vice President of Student Affairs Cindy Long Porter believes they will have them before the fall 2016 semester begins.
“We know there will be spaces that open up at the Mount Carmel campus [for next year],” Porter said. “As those spaces open, we’ll assign those students.”
Freshman Victoria de la Rosa was one of the 122 students who participated in the second round of the housing lottery and is currently assigned to live on York Hill for her sophomore year. She said if space opens up on Mount Carmel, she would rather live there.
“It would make life a bit easier and less stressful for myself,” she said. “I would like to be surrounded by the atmosphere of main campus and enjoy the year. Although, in some situations living up at York Hill may be nicer, I’d rather wait for these privileges and focus on what’s best for me academically and for my level of involvement on campus.”
Despite this issue in housing, Porter said she doesn’t expect it to impact the guarantee of housing for undergraduate students for their full four years at the university. However, she said there has even been an increase in the number of students remaining in the residence halls throughout their four years.
Porter said if that increase of students interested in living on campus continues, a lack of additional housing could pose a problem for the university.
Additional dorms would mean that students who are willing to remain on campus will receive a college experience that rounds out the learning they experience in the classroom, according to Porter.
“Living on campus is an incredible experience for our students,” Porter said. “We talk a lot about the learning that takes place in the classroom. I think that the residence halls are a different kind of classroom. Students are learning and expanding on their interpersonal skills. It’s an opportunity for students to really grow as young men and young women.”
Acting Town Planner Dan Kops said he believes more students might want to be on campus.
“We would like to see [Quinnipiac] build the beds,” Kops said. “Students’ tastes have changed as well.”
Kops said Hamden’s Planning and Zoning Commission would want to see the university build more dorms, specifically on York Hill because there is room for more dorms on that campus.
And that has been a serious option for Quinnipiac for over a year.
When the Planning and Zoning Commission approved the university’s construction of the York Hill campus years ago, it was under the impression that the university would have enough beds for every full-time undergraduate student during their four years on campus. However, the university has 5,020 beds and 6,784 full-time undergraduate students currently enrolled.
Kops said Hamden’s Planning and Zoning Commission would not stand in the way of the university wanting to build more dorms.
“We have not prevented the university from building more dorms,” Kops said. “If the university wants to build more dorms, we will review the [university’s] application [for future dorm construction].”
If the university wanted to build more dorms on campus, there is a lengthy process the university would undergo, according to Vice President of Facilities and Capital Planning Salvatore Filardi.
But dorm construction isn’t imminent for the university, according to Filardi.
“We’re not actively planning to build dorms,” Filardi said. “So we don’t have a plan that in one year, two years or three years we’re going to build beds on York Hill. But we do have plans to build beds on York Hill.”
Those plans coincide with the original approval for construction on York Hill, Filardi said. The university’s master plan was approved to build a campus with 2,000 beds but it only build 1,500 beds, leaving the university with the option to still add the additional 500 beds.
“Technically, we still have approval from the town for 500 beds,” he said. “We’re not actively planning to build those beds, but I think the issue with sophomore housing has to be more about bed management.”
Filardi said the reason bed management was an issue was because there were open spaces available on campus when the current freshman class initially chose housing for next year, such as open beds in rooms and suites with RAs.
And the amount of beds currently in rooms on campus are variable, Filardi said. This means just because a room is a double one semester, it does not mean it cannot become a triple for the following semester.
But Filardi said the most important thing to remember from this situation was that all the beds that were eventually identified for the sophomores, should have been identified during the first lottery round.
“I do think it’s important to stress that there wasn’t a sophomore bed crisis,” Filardi said.