Students express mixed reactions toward Quinnipiac housing process

The York Hill campus, courtesy of Quinnipiac's website

The York Hill campus, courtesy of Quinnipiac's website

By Tatyana Youssef

As Quinnipiac reaches its goal of 7,000 undergraduate students, the student body is experiencing changes in the traditional housing structure. More students are being fit into the 15 different residential areas on York Hill and Mount Carmel campus, while many others are living in off-campus options such as Quinnipiac owned houses or apartments. “Approximately 4,800 students live in university-owned housing in traditional residence halls, suites, apartments and off-campus houses,” according to the university’s website.” With housing selection approaching, students are making decisions with the limited options and new changes.

In early 2017, Quinnipiac announced a variety of changes to the housing structure aimed at reducing the crowding being experienced in some dorms due to the increasing size of incoming classes. There is no longer enough room for all sophomores and freshmen to live on Mount Carmel campus, which is within walking distance of classes.

Current senior and Vice President of the Student Government Association Jacqueline Schmedel has seen drastic changes in housing since she began her experience at Quinnipiac. She says, “I have seen freshmen packed into common rooms, students temporarily displaced due to combusting generators, and underclassmen being sent up to York Hill because there isn't enough space on campus to accommodate them.”

Some sophomores are currently living on York Hill, a campus originally intended for upperclassmen. While the university’s website states, “The Crescent and Westview residence hall is one of our newest residence halls, providing housing for upperclassmen,” this does not hold true for the many sophomores living in Crescent dorms.  

Alongside freshman dorms of Commons, Ledges, Mountainview, Irma, Dana and Larson, the rise in populations opened up Judge Philip Troup Hall, a former sophomore housing option, as a freshman dorm.  

Junior options expanded on York Hill as the former senior dorm, Townhouses, now houses six juniors each. Whitney Village, a living option off campus in a condominium style is now open for juniors.

For many students, living on campus is seen as a privilege entering their first two years at Quinnipiac. When news broke of the sophomore separation, students were disappointed and feared losing their sense of community tied to the Mount Carmel campus. Whitney Leyland, a sophomore psychology major, recalls what her peers say about the York experience. “I haven’t heard of it being stressful on York. Some of my friends actually really like it.”

Charlotte Gardner, a sophomore journalism major, was nervous to find out her higher lottery number left her with a crescent room option on York Hill last spring semester. This year, she is satisfied with the experience, “I love living on York. I'm so much more relaxed and calm and not as anxious as I am when I'm on Main (Mount Carmel campus)- it really feels like I'm coming home as opposed to a dorm.”

Students have expressed frustration with the random “lottery system” through which housing numbers are assigned. Freshman health science major Gisselle Acevedo vocalizes her annoyance with the current housing process, describing the experience as “too competitive.” She questions the temporary solutions combatting the influx of incoming students accepted this year. “I don’t like how for most of the good rooms it’s seven people. What is the point of a forced triple? Why not make rooms with 8 people and have equal space?”

Whitney Leyland, currently living in Sahlin on the Mount Carmel campus, understands the temporary solutions but sees what makes it so complicated for the students new to the process. “The whole lottery system is chaotic because after people start to get their housing situations set up, people have to get kicked out to fit other styles.” In an ideal world, she believes having the same number of students in each room allows the housing selection process to run smoother. “Having the same amount live together would alleviate the stress of the possibility of getting kicked out and everyone would know how many they needed to fill the room.”

One administrator proposed a different idea when approaching the random lottery housing process. Erin Twomey Provistalis, Assistant Director of Student Affairs, says “I think there should be a way for students who get a certain GPA, are involved outside the classroom, pay their bills on-time, etc. get preference in the lottery.” With the unfairness that stems from random lottery, Twomey would “love to see a system that rewards our students who are really making an impact at Quinnipiac.”

When it was being constructed in 2010, the York Hill campus was originally approved to have several more dorms in addition to the ones that were built. While these dorms were never constructed, President Lahey revealed in Fall of 2017 that Quinnipiac was beginning the process of applying for permits to begin constructing a new 220-room dorm on the York Hill Campus. The addition of this new building could alleviate much of the stress experienced during the housing process by giving students more modern and attractive options.