Stretched Capacity Forces Students into Triples and Quads

Although forced triples and quads leave students squeezed for space, some students said that they would rather live in crunched quarters than leave their current roommates behind. (Photo by Brendan O'Hara)
Although forced triples and quads leave students squeezed for space, some students said that they would rather live in crunched quarters than leave their current roommates behind. (Photo by Brendan O'Hara)

With 1,618 students living on a campus built for 1,571 residents, the College is currently at 102.9 percent capacity.

The rate of overcrowding is less than the previous fall, which saw the College at 105 percent capacity, and the same methods as last year are being employed to deal with the limited living space, said Kelly Smolinsky, Assistant Director of Residence Life. Study rooms in the overcrowded residence halls have been turned into quads, and many of the corner rooms in the dorms have been turned into forced triples. “As we get spaces we’ve been moving students out,” she said. Residence life hopes to have all students moved out of the forced triples by the end of the semester.

Because there are more women than men this semester, there are no male triples and the extra students are concentrated in residence halls Queen Anne, Prince George and Caroline. The presence of extra students in the residence halls hasn’t caused an increase in problems.

“We have probably about the same amount of roommate conflicts,” said Smolinsky. Although on the BASE surveys many students reported that they would like to see the spaces currently used as quads opened up for study space instead, “A lot of times students don’t want to move out of quads,” she said. Once roommate relationships are established, many students prefer to remain with their friends.

And there are some perks to living with a few extra people. “Forced triples get $40 per week on their account,” said Smolinsky, and the triples and quads in Queen Anne get free air conditioning.

According to first-years Nava Behnam, Julie Walker and Emmie Burns, living in a triple has its benefits.

“I was worried [about living in a triple] because I was already worried about having a roommate,” said Behnam, but she said that things have worked out well. Since the girls aren’t always in the room at the same time, “Everyone could have their time alone. I feel like we all respect each others’ space.”

And, all three girls say that living in a triple has helped their social lives. “We always have someone to go to dinner with,” said Walker.

“I think it’s helped us,” said Burns. “It’s allowed us to make more friends.” Each of the girls introduces the people they meet through their different activities to each other.

First-year Carly Harmon, who also lives in a triple, said that although the living situation can sometimes get crowded, she likes both her roommates. If she were given the option of moving into another room, she said, she would choose to stay. “If I hadn’t gotten to know my roommates,” she said, “I probably would have picked [living in a] double.”

According to several students, overcrowding sounds like more of a problem than it actually is.

“In any given hall [there are] only two extra people,” said sophomore Julie Frank.

“We’re really not horrible over capacity,” said junior Terri Matthews, who lives in Queen Anne. “I really haven’t noticed that much of a difference.”

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