More students are attending Baker University, and the increase in enrollment requires more housing for those students.
Director of Residence Life Nick Goodman explained that 504 of 849 students live in on-campus housing, causing the residence options to be at 94.6 percent capacity as of Fall 2018. The remainder of students live in Greek or off-campus housing.
“We do have beds in the system that are there, and we would have room for several more years if I completely eliminated singles, but that would create more issues than it would solve,” Goodman said.
Single rooms have yet to become a real problem because they are sold to returning students based on the anticipated need for housing for the following year’s incoming class. Goodman said he tries to avoid having rooms that are designated as doubles become singles in order to best utilize the space offered for housing students on campus.
“We tried to make sure we put as many people as we could with roommates so we didn’t leave a whole bunch of holes,” Goodman said.
Housing is first determined for returning students through various application processes and then is offered for incoming students. However, incoming students must have applied to the University, been admitted to the University, submitted their deposit and submitted a housing application in order to be considered.
“The earlier in the process that they submit their deposit, the more likely they are to get what they asked for,” Goodman said. “We try to make the best matches we can — sometimes they work, and sometimes they don’t.”
Although off-campus housing would solve the issue of an increased need for residence space, Goodman said that it is often not what students are expecting.
“What I think is often overlooked is that what’s charged on campus is all-inclusive,” Goodman said. “It includes the place to live, the furniture, the staff to assist you, utilities and Internet — the services are sitting there. There are a whole bunch of benefits to living on campus that are intangible that people don’t see.”
Students who transfer to Baker at semester may also begin to struggle to find on-campus housing options. But for now, Goodman said there are enough openings due to residents vacating the dorms or apartments for a variety of reasons.
“Usually there’s enough people who transfer into Greek housing, off-campus housing or choose to take another path in their adult life and decide to leave Baker that there is enough room for transfers after all that settles out,” Goodman said.
Freshman Karla English lives in the New Living Center and said that the number of residents in the building is not a problem for her.
“I never really run into anyone in my hall,” English said. “I think that if the bigger classes keep persisting, Baker will have to look at building more dorms.”
Goodman said that if the trend of an increased enrollment holds, a new residence hall or more residence options will need to be discussed.
“Personally, I would love to see a new facility, but that discussion is out of my hands until [a decision] has been made,” Goodman said. “I would be involved in its inception once it has been green-lighted, help develop the community space and to try to be an advocate for students once we got going.”