The question is always asked, ‘What do other schools have that Quinnipiac doesn’t?’ or, ‘What does QU do better than other schools in the area?’ College amenities differ between universities depending on how large the student population is and how diverse the community is. Food, housing and extracurriculars are examined between Quinnipiac, Ithaca, UConn and Sacred Heart.
There are many surrounding schools that Quinnipiac considers competition. In an email by Monique Drucker, vice president and dean of students, Quinnipiac’s competitors include schools like Fairfield University, Sacred Heart University and Ithaca College on the private side and the University of Connecticut (UConn), University of Massachusetts Amherst and University of Delaware on the public side.
In terms of serving the students’ need for food, Quinnipiac offers two options for meal plans according to their dining website, both based on credit: the Bobcat Dining Plan with $1,450 in meal plan credit per semester and the Boomer Dining Plan with $1,050 in credit.
The four main competitor schools, have plans that use both credit and “meal swipes.” They also have more dining plan options than Quinnipiac. When paying for a meal with a swipe, the student can eat as much as they’d like while in the respective dining hall, provided they don’t leave the eating area.
Junior Anthony Cruz wishes that Quinnipiac’s dining plans would work in a similar way to meal swipes.
“I think that some of the foods are way overpriced for… the portion sizes. I feel that a swipe system would better accommodate all the students,” Cruz said.
Freshman Juliette Dent is surprised by the prices for salad from the cafe. However, she does feel that using the credit system does have merits.
“It is better in the sense that you don’t lose a swipe if you’re just going in for an apple. You can just pay for that one apple, instead of paying for a potential full meal,” she said.
Dent is a bigger fan of QU housing and residential life than at UConn. When she visited UConn, as it was another school that she was considering, Dent wasn’t a fan of how crowded it was.
“I think the housing at Quinnipiac is better. There’s less people, so they have more control over the dorms. At UConn, I would be more cramped. It’s just a lot calmer here,” she said.
For Mark DeVilbiss, director of residential life, the idea of living on campus is more than a matter of practicality.
“People want to feel that campus is home, and to the extent that we can make a residence hall experience ‘homey,’ so to speak, we try and do that,” DeVilbiss said.
One feature that DeVilbiss says is a unique part of Quinnipiac’s residential life is that they keep students of the same class year together, unlike some schools which keep students of different years in the same living area. He feels that this separation is beneficial for everyone.
“It exposes students to a variety of different living environments, gives them a chance to develop a sense of [class identity] and we can better meet their needs when they’re living in the same areas,” DeVilbiss said. “The needs of a sophomore student are different than the needs of a first-year student.”
However, some might say that there are limits to this philosophy. Linda Koenig, assistant director of housing services and communications at Ithaca College, emphasizes the potential for students to make connections with others in the residence halls.
“ [For] a first year student, sometimes it’s nice to be around students with more experience, so there’s opportunity for mentorship,“ she said.
Junior Eric Santos is happy with his dorm experience at Quinnipiac, even if there are trade-offs between each year.
“I really liked my sophomore housing in New Village a lot, maybe even better than where I am now in Westview, but I do enjoy having my own personal bedroom,“ Santos said.
When students come to Quinnipiac, they are encouraged to join clubs and get involved, to enhance their college experience. QU have over 200 organizations that students can choose from.
Dent is just one student who got involved with extracurricular activities. She is part of the physician’s assistant club. Despite being new to the school, club members have made her feel welcome at QU.
“They do try to get to know you, but there are a lot of people, so sometimes they don’t necessarily know you by name, but they’ll recognize you, so they’ll smile and wave. It’s nice to have that kind of community,” she said.
That sort of spirit is what Diane Ariza, associate vice president and chief diversity officer, would like to see more of on campus. According to the “You Matter Here” packet from the Department of Cultural and Global Engagement, there are 15 cultural and identity groups on campus, Ariza would like to see more.
Larger schools have more culture and identity clubs. Uconn has 49 of these groups. Ariza says that it’s not always about a number. She works with the groups as a part of the Department of Cultural and Global Engagement, and she wants to make underrepresented students feel at home.
“All of us are part of a community. This department is not exclusive to [one kind of student]. It’s open to everyone who wants to learn about diversity and inclusion,” she said.
At the end of the day, DeVilbiss understands that the needs of the students come first.
“We should always use the wants of the students and the impact of the students as a barometer for deciding what to do, which course of action to take,” he said.