Triple-occupancy rooms only temporary solution

Armando Marin, Senior Staff Writer

This is an opinion article and does not necessarily reflect the views of The Tulane Hullabaloo.

Responding to a higher-than-expected enrollment rate and an increase in the number of upperclassmen remaining on campus, Tulane Housing and Residence Life chose to turn a number of double-occupancy rooms in Wall Residential College into triple-occupancy rooms. The decision may at first glance seem shortsighted, but HRL is actively working to address the needs of students living in triple rooms.

HRL typically estimates around 1,700 freshmen will ultimately accept their offer to attend Tulane, but this year, over 1,800 freshmen will be attending. As of Wednesday, 178 of them will be in triple rooms in Wall.

Overcrowding in residence halls is a nationwide trend. George Washington University and Dartmouth College, for example, are taking measures to reduce overcrowding. These include creating partnerships with local apartment complexes and placing students in hotels. The New Orleans housing market presents a unique problem to Tulane as the institution is unable to follow suit. Faced with a lack of options, tripling up Wall was one of the only valid solutions.

For the first time, Wall will mostly house students in the Honors Program. While some may feel cramped, living in Wall will come with additional perks. These include the installation of printers in all study lounges, weekly cleaning of bathrooms for triple suites and storage spaces for students’ luggage. Such measures show that HRL is highly concerned with easing the inevitable struggles of sharing a room with two other people.

Many studies have found a link between overcrowding and certain psychological issues, such as depression, anxiety and anger problems. In an already stressful time for freshmen, Tulane must provide them with the resources to healthily deal with that stress. Freshmen in all residence halls will have access to three faculty members along with their resident advisors to discuss campus life and take part in residential programs.

Tulane must also continue to reform and expand Counseling and Psychological Services, which is frequently strained to meet student demand. Living in close quarters will limit the privacy of students, so talking to a therapist can be a great outlet for residents to express their frustrations. 

Tripling up Wall rooms should not be a permanent solution to an increasingly larger freshman class and upperclassmen’s desire to stay on campus.

Tulane should expedite the construction of two new residence halls in the current locations of Bruff Commons and the Caroline Richardson Building, which former President Scott Cowen announced in the spring of 2014. These new residence halls will not only free up space for students to live, but offer more options for different living experiences.

The convenience and sense of community from living on campus is invaluable. With numerous changes to the residential experience at Tulane sure to come, HRL must remain vigilant in addressing the concerns of on-campus residents and making them feel comfortable and included in their residential environments.

Armando is a senior at Newcomb-Tulane College. He can be reached at [email protected]

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