HRL introduces triples in response to overcrowding

Emily Carmichael, Senior Staff Reporter

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The nerves that come along with random roommates in double-occupancy rooms intensified when Wall Residential College, the honors freshmen dorm, introduced triples for the upcoming school year. 

Freshman admission offer acceptances totaled more than 100 over what was initially estimated for the 2016-17 academic year, leading the Office of Housing and Residence Life to institute the use of triples, dorms rooms with three residents, to accommodate them.

Director of Admission Jeff Schiffman said that Tulane experienced an unexpected one percent increase in yield in this year’s incoming class, with a total of 1,848 students. According to Brian Johnson, assistant vice president of Student Affairs for Housing & Residence Life, HRL traditionally allots approximately 1,720 beds for freshman residents. 

“After we get through the first several weeks of school then we will re-start working with students to de-triple, to move people around,” Johnson said. “I think what we might end up seeing is some students that don’t want to because they’ve connected with the group and are having a good experience.”

According to Johnson, originally, 240 students were in triples. Now, he said 178 students are in triples.

To create triples, HRL added a bed to previous doubles. According to Johnson, the triples are isolated to Wall Residence Hall due to the larger dorm room size, relative to other freshman residence halls.

Students who had been assigned to doubles in Wall were randomly selected for triples without their prior knowledge.

Johnson said that students were not consulted in the decision to create triples. 

“I’m annoyed overall,” said freshman Shelby Dwyer, an honors student who was assigned to a triple. “I probably wouldn’t be as annoyed if I knew before we had chosen our options.”

Johnson said HRL has compensated for tripled dorms with perks for students living in Wall, especially triples. Students in Wall triples will have reduced housing costs, paying $7,200 for the year instead of the $9,052 students in a double pay. Michael Goodman, Associate Vice President of University Financial Aid, said these price differences will have no impact on students’ financial aid packages.

Dwyer said she appreciates the monetary compensation.  

Other perks include a trailer behind Patterson House in which students living in triples can store luggage, a bathroom cleaning service, and a move in time one day earlier than the official move-in date. In addition, HRL, with University Services, will provide free printing in all of the Wall study lounges. According to Johnson, there are other perks in progress as a surprise for students in triples.

However, some students expressed frustration with other compensatory measures — in particular, the lack of space and the use of more compact furniture. Johnson said the smaller furniture allows for additional floor space.

“We don’t get dressers, so that’s really rough because we had to go buy all of our own storage to put under the bed,” Dwyer said. “We have to utilize every inch of space that’s in the room because there’s no place to put all of our stuff.”

Johnson said he encourages students to use space creatively and bring fewer possessions to college.

Schiffman attributes the yield increase to Tulane’s growing popularity among prospective students. He also noted the increase in international students, with almost 80 international students in the new class. Due to the larger freshman class size, Schiffman said next year will have a smaller freshman class, potentially meaning an increase in selectivity depending on submitted applications.

Both Schiffman and Johnson said they viewed the fuller freshman class as an opportunity, despite what Schiffman called the “hiccups and growing pains” that come with it.

“I think Wall will work itself out,” Johnson said. “I think our students are more resilient than people give them credit for. There’s gonna be a lot more freshmen on campus…it’s going to be an opportunity for the institution to get the students excited about being here, and engage them in positive ways and hopefully help them be good citizens and be positive Tulane students.”