Overcrowding: On-Campus Housing Shortage

By Sydney Sibelius '18
Staff Writer

Living on the campus of Scripps College has its perks. Students live in beautiful Spanish-style dorms with hidden courtyards and running fountains. Palm trees are abundant and tower over green lawns. Walkways are lined with orange trees, and the rose garden is almost always in bloom. The campus is beautiful, class sizes are small and the professors are consistently ranked among the best, as is the food served at Malott Dining Hall.

Scripps enrolls around 950 students each year, and the College provides guaranteed housing for their students for all four years of their undergraduate studies. As a small liberal arts college, this is a draw for many prospective students and applicants. Scripps currently has nine dorms and one new dorm is under construction.

Despite the guarantee and the available dorms, the College has been experiencing problems with overcrowding of students in on-campus dorms. The majority of first years on campus are placed in forced triples (rooms that were meant for two people but house three) and forced doubles (rooms that were meant to be singles but house two students).

“[Many spaces on campus] were appropriated big enough to be doubles and triples in the past as the College grew,” Associate Dean of Students Sam Haynes said.

Scripps has filled these rooms to their maximum capacity, and also sends some upperclassmen to off-campus housing situations. Many students believe that Scripps is facing a housing shortage given all of the forced triples and doubles.

However, Hall Director Jill Langan has a different opinion. She says “we are currently not in a housing shortage, as all students have housing either on-campus or at a Scripps owned/rented property.”

“We have provided housing for Scripps students at Drinkward Hall at Harvey Mudd College, as well as off-campus housing at apartments, as well as off-campus houses,” Langan said. “We have been utilizing this model for the past five years, with Drinkward Hall replacing Smiley Hall at Pomona this year.”

While Scripps provides housing on other campuses, there are still feelings of an on-campus housing shortage. Not all currently-enrolled students who wanted to live on campus were provided with housing in a Scripps dorm. Additionally, it is difficult to decide what qualifies a room as suitable; some students report being placed in rooms so small that they have to bunk their beds, or their beds and furniture are forced to block windows.

Scripps did provide housing in some form to every student that wanted it, but for many, room selection was reported to be a stressful process. Those who received draw times towards the end of the process were left with few options. Many students were only able to select from off-campus apartments or Drinkward Hall, despite not wanting to live in these areas.
In hopes of removing forced triples and doubles and eliminating off-campus living, Scripps is in the process of building a new dormitory.

“NEW Hall will allow Scripps to house most of our students on campus next year and [will] further allow for the undoubling and untripling of spaces on campus,” Haynes said.
In addition to providing more rooms for students on campus, Scripps is hoping to be able to house all students who want to be on-campus in dorms.

“We anticipate that the opening of NEW Hall will house upwards of 80-90 students, allowing us to house most, if not all, of Scripps students on campus,” Langan said.

Although NEW Hall will hopefully alleviate Scripps’ condensed housing, the campus is facing overcrowding issues in many other areas. Malott Commons has seen an increase in the number of students trying to eat around lunch time. Students have been held waiting outside the dining hall to allow room for those inside and to not exceed fire standards, and it has been suggested the people eat outside of the 12:15 p.m. rush time.

“I have seen that the Malott Commons is doing their best to encourage faculty and staff to take earlier or later lunches to curb the amount of people in the dining hall at Scripps,” Langan said.