Accommodating growth on campus

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Transfer students were placed into Clark Hall in order to accommodate record numbers of new students.

The class of 2021 is the largest freshman class the University of Dallas has ever had. This class is 426 students strong, 53 students more than last year’s freshman class.

“Our university is growing, and that is an exciting thing,” Seth Oldham, director of Student Affairs said.

This increase in students has put a strain on the already sparse rooming accommodations.

“This year, we still have a small number of empty beds, so I wouldn’t call the housing situation a crisis,” Oldham said. “In the future, we are anticipating being full or close to full occupancy.”

The traditional halls, where all on-campus freshmen and other classes are usually placed, consist of Jerome, Theresa, Augustine, Madonna, Gregory, and O’Connell.

Betty Perretta, director of housing operations, reported that there are 425 beds in all of the traditional halls.

Oldham said very few students ended up in a dorm unusual for their year.

“Several first year transfer students ended up in Clark Hall,” Oldham said.

Clark Hall, a newer residence hall generally reserved for upperclassmen, opened in January of 2010 to accommodate the expansion of the student body taking place even at that time.

There are currently around 178 sophomores, 208 juniors and 46 seniors assigned to Irving campus housing, and an additional 110 students, mostly sophomores, currently on the Rome campus, according to Perretta.

“The UD population is growing, which presents some unique challenges in campus housing, but we will face those challenges head on,” Perretta said.

Housing operations takes several considerations into account when assigning housing

“Our office does our best to place students quickly,” Oldham said. “But we do wait until students have had the opportunity to complete the roommate selection process through Please Don’t Snore.

“After that, we place students who have completed all of their housing and medical forms and have a mutual roommate selection first. [We then try to] place students as soon as they have completed their housing and medical forms.

“The best way to ensure that you get the hall you desire is to do two things: complete all required forms correctly and on time and have a mutual roommate selection.”

The students are not oblivious to this new growth, and are dubious about the possible long-term effects it may have on the school.

While none of the students I talked to reported themselves unsatisfied with the current school size in terms of the student population — in fact approximately 86 percent were either satisfied or very satisfied with it — 33 percent  of the students felt that they would be unhappy if the growth continues. Sixty percent agreed that the university would lose intimacy and be weaker with more students.

“It would be a different community,” an anonymous student commented.

However freshman Taylor Chelliah has a more optimistic point of view.

“I’m fine with  [UD] growing as a school, just nothing too rapid,” Chelliah said. “I chose UD because of the school size; it’s nice with an intimate group. … [UD] can retain [this intimacy with a bigger population], but it would require different strategies, a different approach. What they’re doing for what they have right now is good, but a bigger student body would be challenging.”

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