November 5, 2021 | NEWS | By Riley Prillwitz | Photo by Tamar Crump
The first step of every student’s college experience is move-in day. A new student and their family find the assigned dorm room and begin to unpack for a new adventure at a new school. Living in the dorms for at least the first year of college is a common experience. When the topic of “dorm life” is discussed, most college students can relate to the conversation.
Yet, when the unexpected is thrown a student’s way, like having to live in a forced triple, things can turn from exciting to upsetting very quickly. The last thing anyone wants when living in a dorm room is getting even less space than has already been provided.
Sometimes, when a college enrolls more students than the amount of housing options available, they put an extra person in a room. So that means in a room meant for two people, there will be three people living inside, and the students must figure out how to divide the space.
This year, rumors began to circle in the beginning of first block that many Colorado College first years were put into forced triples, and that there was somewhere around 150 over-enrolled first year students. Many were saying that students were unhappy about the situation but were unable to do anything about it.
Hannah Waldvogel ’25, was one of the students placed in a forced triple this year. She knew she would have two roommates from her housing assignment but had no idea it would be in a room meant for two people until she arrived.
“At first, I tried to be positive about it because I knew that was how I was going to be living and didn’t really have a choice,” Waldvogel said. “I was very stressed about living in a forced triple however, due to the limited space and my need for alone time.”
Waldvogel said that she struggles living in a forced triple due to the lack of space and privacy in such a small environment. To decompress and reset after social activities, she needs her alone time. Yet, she does not have much beyond her corner of living. “It feels like summer camp in my room,” she said.
It is true that admissions enrolled more students than usual this year, but 150 might be an exaggeration. Karen Kristof, assistant vice president and dean of admissions has the numbers. When asked about admissions, she said “we enrolled 628 first-year students … typically, we’re in the 550 to 600 range.”
Kristof explained that Mark Hatch, vice president of enrollment, works closely with the president to create target ranges for student enrollment. Last year, Hatch worked with Co-Presidents Mike Edmonds and Robert G. Moore to create the enrollment target based on previous enrollment affected by the pandemic.
“We had fewer [Early Decision] applicants, more [Early Action] applicants, and no opportunity for students to visit campus after they were admitted,” said Kristof. “So, last year’s target was very broad – 550 to 650 new students. We were definitely on the higher end of that projection.”
Housing offers a reassignment waitlist that students can get on after filling out a survey. Students in housing situations that do not work for them can apply to live somewhere more suitable. Waldvogel said she applied to the housing reassignment waitlist as soon as she could in hopes of getting moved to a single or double, “because of my need for my own space.”
But she has not heard back, even after sending multiple follow-up emails. “The housing office has been completely closed and quiet,” Waldvogel said.
Not only have first year students placed in forced triples been affected, but others who have attempted to contact housing have had trouble hearing back. Alexa Porter ’23 had a frustrating process trying to get new housing.
“The reason I contacted housing was to get a new room assignment due to issues with [one of] my roommate[s] at that time,” Porter said. “They were really delayed with their response times to emails. When my other roommate called them, it went straight to voicemail and was never reached out to following the call.”
Porter explained she and her other roommate both emailed and called the housing office, in addition to both submitting a room reassignment survey to be put on the waitlist. This led Porter to eventually move out of her apartment to live with her aunt 15 minutes off campus.
“It was when my mom called trying to get a refund for my money, since I was no longer living on campus, that housing did something to help my situation,” Porter said.
After her mom called the housing office for a refund, they were able to move Porter and her roommate to a new apartment.
It remains to be seen how the college will address the housing situation on campus. CC’s Housing and Conference Manager was unable to provide The Catalyst with a comment at this time.