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Crowded dorms squeeze students

Justin Tardiff | Wednesday, August 27, 2003

For the third year in a row, Notre Dame students returned to campus to discover dormitories filled to capacity, and some freshmen assigned to live in West Quad and Mod Quad dorms found themselves settling into converted study lounges.

This year, between 75 and 100 freshmen and transfer students were assigned makeshift rooms for the academic year, said Jeff Shoup, the director of Residence Life and Housing. The added dorm rooms and fewer study areas also mean cramped quarters for all of the students who are living in these overcrowded dorms.

“It’s been a challenge, there’s no doubt about that,” Shoup said. “I think this is the most [students] we’ve had in lounges since Flanner and Grace [halls] went offline.”

The reason for the overcrowding, he said, is larger-than-expected class sizes both this year and two years ago. The class of 2007, with close to 2,000 students, and 2005, which entered with 2,038 students, represent the two largest classes in Notre Dame history.

Although the Office of Admissions has continued to accept approximately the same number of applicants each year, more and more students are choosing to accept those invitations, said James Riley, assistant director of admissions. This year, for example, applicants accepted invitations for admission at a rate of 59 percent, he said.

The additional students have posed a challenge for the Office of Residence Life and Housing.

But Shoup said the situation is under control because newer dorms, including those on Mod and West quads, were built with study lounges designed to be converted into doubles if needed.

The rooms may lack a sink, but they are equipped with phone and Ethernet lines and carpet. “Those are nice rooms,” said Keough Hall rector Father Peter Jarret.

Some students, in fact, prefer them to standard rooms.

“It’s really hit or miss whether people like the [converted] rooms,” Shoup said. “Every year at room picks we have people who have lived in study lounges and want to live there again but we don’t allow that situation.”

In the future, the University will likely address the problem by reducing occupancy in older dorms and constructing new dorms around campus, Shoup said.