Suitcase campus leaves residents lonely on weekends

By Kelly Finlan
October 24, 2002

Cabrini’s population is growing. Every year the overwhelming majority of incomers are from Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware, but those outside the reasonable driving distance are left behind, alone on weekends and short holidays.

“When they closed the dorms, I went home, but other than that I was here everyday,” Amanda Brown, a sophomore from Freeport, Maine, said regarding her freshman year without a car. “This year, I just leave.”

These are the general thoughts about campus. Weeks are put to rest with the relaxing drive home, a home-cooked meal and one’s own bed. The Founder’s Hall parking lot empties directly onto the Blue Route as many race to leave campus at break-neck speeds down the Cabrini driveway.

“I wish they did more to recruit people from further away than the tri-state area so there would be more people here on the weekends,” Brown said.

“There are 177 out of state students on campus this year,” Chad May, data and records coordinator and research assistant, said. According to the “Cabrini College Fact Book,” for Fall 1998 to Fall 2002, there are 42 freshmen from outside the tri-state area and 11 from outside the United States. This accounts for less than 13 percent of the freshman population. This is slightly down from last year and significantly lower than that of 2000.

Without personal transportation and selective shuttle service, freshmen and upperclassmen without cars are left to limited weekend activities: homework, television and the occasional Cabrini-sponsored activity. Freshman Lindsay Giacomantonio, from West Chester, N.Y., said, “There is nothing to do. No one is in the dorm, and I feel trapped.”

Kristen Getka, a resident assistant in Woodcrest, estimated that 80 percent of her residents leave on the weekends.

“The people I see during the week are the same people I see on the weekends,” Mike Quickel, the resident director of Xavier, said. “A higher percentage of freshmen stay this year than last.”

Margaret Haas, a senior from Long Island, N.Y., said, “Let people do what they want to do on the weekends.” She added that people might be more likely to stay on campus if rules were not so restrictive. The three-hour ride did not stop Haas from going home on the weekends her freshman year; she took the train home. Now, with her car on campus, Haas leaves Cabrini every weekend.

“It is like they don’t care. There is no effort made to accommodate people staying on the weekend,” Devon Spratling, a sophomore from San Antonio, Texas, said. Spratling, as well as Giacomantonio, are currently considering transferring from Cabrini, looking into schools closer to home that are not considered “suitcase schools.” They said they are taking social aspects into consideration.

Ramiro Ramirez, a junior from Valencia, Venezuela, recommended that campus-wide parties, like Cabrini dances, be on a more regular basis. Planned weekend activities, he suggested, could stem the tide of cars leaving Cabrini every Friday. Giacomantonio and others look forward to staying on campus for Midnight Madness and other activities that occupy weekend hours.

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Kelly Finlan

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