Packed to the max with freshmen

By Laura Van De Pette
September 9, 2005

Cabrini is at maximum capacity and is busting at the seams with new students this semester. The office of Residence Life has housed freshman in every nook and cranny of the campus from the basement of Woodcrest to the lounges of Xavier to Rooyman’s Center and even on Valley Forge’s campus. With 537 new freshman students, this year’s incoming class is the largest in Cabrini history and if the past two weeks are any sign of what is to come then this year may be extremely difficult for all resident students.

Many students have growing concerns as Cabrini continues to move toward a crowded, concrete campus. Megan O’Brien, a junior early childhood education major, said, “Cabrini is not built for this many resident students at this time. The cafeteria is a mess, I waited in line for nearly 20 minutes and it is impossible to find an empty seat. Maybe Cabrini should have considered more than just the dorm rooms when they accepted such a large freshmen class. It is simply too crowded everywhere.”

Although Cabrini is currently building the West Hall next to the Cabrini Apartment Complex, the suite-style residence hall will only have 129 beds. With so few beds in the West Hall students feel the housing issue will rear its ugly head again next year. Carolyn Steck, a junior account-ing major, said, “I understand the college is a business and they want to accept more students to make more money so that new dorms and other things can be financed but I think the college needs to accept fewer students until they have built more hous-ing and created more parking facilities. It is simply not fair to accept so many new students that it inconveniences the rest of the student body.”

The general manager of dining services, Michael Antolini, said, “The cafeteria is built with enough chairs to seat 324 students at one time.” With only enough seats to hold about one fifth of the undergraduate student body, it is no wonder that students are annoyed at the cafeteria situation. “I understand that Cabrini cannot simply build a cafeteria to accommodate the students right now but they could at least extend the hours of lunch to compensate for the large freshmen class and the extra class time that runs from 11:05 a.m.-12:20 p.m. Right now it is impossible to eat in the cafeteria during lunch time. Something needs to be done or situations like this will push students to transfer to a less crowded college,” said O’Brien.

Looking ahead into the near future provides some disconcerting feelings for many resident and commuter students. The looming parking problems that students face now will only get worse as 537 freshmen attempt to cram their cars on to the already inadequate parking lots. Director of Public Safety, Charlie Schaffner, said, “Parking has always been tight on the campus and there are parking problems at all colleges across the country. The college will just have to wait and see and accommodate accordingly.”

Freshmen students had not given much thought to this prob-lem as they are not able to have cars on campus until sophomore year but when asked how they felt about fighting for parking spots or not being able to have a car on campus until junior year, their feelings about their large class changed. “I originally thought it was great that so many students were accepted and housed on campus. But recently after seeing the campus after everyone has moved in, I have some serious concerns. I never gave parking a thought but I will be extremely disappointed if I cannot have a car on campus next year simply because there are not enough spaces and it does not seem the college has a plan in mind to solve this problem, said freshman English and communications major, Kelly Moorehead.

Assistant Director of Residence Life Laura Shapella, said, “There are 15 freshmen men living on Valley Forge’s campus, 18 men living in the old Rooyman’s Center, 16 women living in the basement of Woodcrest and eight men living in the lounges in Xavier Hall. In addition, six freshmen honor students who did not fit on the fourth floor of New Residence Hall are living on the second floor.” Although every student who was placed on the waiting list by the admission’s counselors has been housed, many of them are more cramped than ever before.

“Every room is a triple in Woodcrest and the basement has girls in it too. Sometimes it feels like there’s no room to breathe in there. For paying so much money to live here, I am living in very uncomfortable conditions. I think Cabrini may have made a poor decision when they accepted such a large number of freshmen. I wonder what will happen next year. Will the freshmen class be even bigger than this year’s class? Every year the living situation will only get worse and worse. Cabrini’s campus was not made for this many students.” said Sarah Codd, a freshman early childhood education major.

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Laura Van De Pette

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