Feeling a little crowded? Yeah, us too

This year, UVM set a new record for total enrollment with 13,500 undergraduate, graduate, postgraduate, medical and non-degree students.   The addition of Jeffords Hall meets the University’s demand for state-of-the-art laboratories and teaching facilities, but it doesn’t provide housing for UVM’s growing undergraduate body. Since 2000, the size of incoming classes has increased more than 50 percent, while over the same time period the total undergraduate population has increased from 7,500 to 11,400. Since the opening of University Heights North and South in 2006, the number of students required to live on campus — first years and sophomores — has increased by 600 students, according to a report on first-year, first-time enrollments by college published by the University. Despite this dramatic increase, the only residence hall that has opened since 2006 is McAuley Hall, which has a capacity of 156 students. As a result, lounges in many residence halls have been converted into rooms. Forced triples are commonplace in res-halls that house primarily first-year students. The deprivation of common spaces contributes to resident conflicts, which in turn correlates to more unassigned damages. As reported by The Cynic last year, classes have become increasingly difficult to get into, especially if you are an underclassman or are trying to enroll in a zero-level class. UVM is filled to the brim.  It feels more crowded on campus than ever before. I feel like I’m shoulder-to-shoulder with people walking through the Living/Learning Center alley. And forget about finding a seat in the Davis Center marketplace at noon on a weekday. The line for New World might as well start in the tunnel. The one well-kept secret of studying on the fourth floor of the Davis Center is out of the bag – it seems like the Cynic office is the last place in the entire DC where you can find a place to get work done. The newly laid sod in front of the Davis Center looks great and all, and I’m sure the massive crater on Central Campus is there for a good reason, though finding a way into Votey Hall has become a conundrum of sorts. But the heart of the matter is that UVM is quite literally overflowing with students. Parking is a challenge nearly everywhere on campus, even if you sacrificed your first-born for a permit. This year’s closure of the Simpson Dining Hall places an added burden on Harris/Millis, not to mention the added walk for students living on Redstone Campus. Reconstruction has left the Redstone Market — formerly the Simpson Store — with only 30 seats. If UVM wishes to continue the annual increase in undergraduate enrollment, a new residence hall is needed. As crowded as some classes are, and as bad as parking is, at the most basic level, students need a comfortable and adequate place to live. Residence halls are at capacity as is and simply cannot handle another influx of first-year students.