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Dorms experiencing capacity problems

Sept. 10, 2003

By Carosa Ervin, reporter

Residence hall overcrowding this semester has forced some students to live with their community leaders, but under normal circumstances community leaders have had their own room.

Jeremy Jackson, a Mesquite sophomore, said he was worried that he was going to be bossed around by his CL, but after reflecting on the short stay with his CL, Jackson considered it a 'good experience.'

Campus Living and Learning anticipated the overflow in the men's residence halls.

'We call it expanded occupancy,' said Terri Garrett, associate director for housing administration and academic initiatives. 'It is a very common procedure for the housing department to do.'

Expanded occupancy first was implemented in the Arbors, then Baylor Plaza, Penland Residence Hall and finally Martin Residence Hall.

Community leaders were told about the expected overflow during their last week of summer training, about a week before the Aug. 21 move-in date. Campus Living and Learning initially had 25 men in expanded occupancy, but a week after move-in, 14 were placed in permanent housing throughout male residence halls. The remaining 11 moved into permanent housing by the end of Labor Day weekend. Some CLs and residents breathed a sigh of relief to have their respective rooms again.

'As a CL you have to roll with the punches,' Todd Blount, a Baton Rouge, LA., sophomore, said. 'The residents had more uncertainty to deal with than the CLs.'

Community leaders count on having their own room because it is a vital tool in building relationships and community on their halls.

'[With a roommate] residents have no confidence in coming [to talk],' Blount said. CLs also use the extra space allotted in their rooms to build community on their halls.

'CLs bring more stuff that can start conversations with residents.' Bill Brown, a Danbury senior, said. 'Not having our own room takes away from bonding with the guys.'

Some of the men living in the residence halls did not see the overcrowding as a problem, but as Baylor growing.

'In principal, growth in the student body is going to have growing pains,' Blount said.

For every new school year Campus Living and Learning will continue to admit students for on-campus housing, even if the students have surpassed full capacity, Garrett said.

'We bank on a certain percentage who will not come,' Garrett said.

If Campus Living and Learning did not allow for this cushion, Garrett said some incoming students would not have the opportunity to come to Baylor.

'[Incoming students would be] forced to move off-campus or not be able to come to Baylor,' Garrett said.

According to Garrett, 700 students who previously lived in on-campus housing returned to live in the residence halls for the 2003-2004 school year. She said the high numbers were a result of Campus Living and Learning 'doing something good.'