Washington State University will welcome its largest freshman class ever today, but students will be greeted with cramped rooms as the university struggles to meet its freshman live-in requirement.
About 135 freshmen will be placed in three-student rooms, single-student rooms in Orton Hall will be converted to doubles, and at least 15 students will be living with their resident adviser, though that number is likely to increase, Phil Weiler, WSU vice president of marketing and communications, told the Daily News on Tuesday.
Though Weiler said those placed in three-student rooms volunteered to do so and will receive a 25 percent discount, it is difficult enough for many people to tolerate just one other roommate, let alone two. Coordinating time for studying, sleeping and relaxing could become a nightmare, especially if the roommates share few interests and remain complete strangers.
WSU implemented the freshman live-in rule to improve the education, health, safety and well-being of its students, according to housing.wsu.edu. The rule by itself is not an issue; while it can be a financial burden for some, living on campus often eases the transition into adulthood for freshman students, many of whom have never lived away from home before entering college.
However, if the university wants its students to reap the benefits from living on campus, it has to make sure it can appropriately accommodate all the students mandated to live there. Just because a room can fit extra bodies in it doesn’t mean those students are going to be comfortable and able to perform at their best during arguably one of the most stressful times of their young lives.
To further complicate matters, as of Aug. 7, Weiler said there were 237 sophomores, juniors and seniors on the waitlist for university housing that will likely have to seek housing elsewhere. The university plans to inform these students of their eligibility next week.
As most rental agencies in Pullman strive to have leases signed by the end of April, these students will face an uphill battle to find a place to stay.
WSU’s freshman classes have only grown in the last four years, and we find it inexcusable the university was so unprepared to house them and the other undergraduates who prefer to live on campus.
We can only hope WSU can start looking at students as people instead of numbers.