Rowan is growing.
To some, this goes without saying. Rowan’s expansion has been well-documented in the media. The university has added medical schools in Camden and Stratford, partnered with Gloucester County College and constructed new residence halls. There are plans for new engineering and business academic buildings, and Rowan Boulevard continues to add businesses and develop.
But with that growth comes some growing pains. This became apparent on Monday when 634 Rowan students were put on a wait-list for on-campus housing. This is a major increase from last year, when only 75 kids were wait-listed. Travis Douglas, the director of Residential Learning and University Housing, said the major increase was due to higher enrollment and more students applying for housing during a March 4 meeting with wait-listed students.
The wait-list situation has raised questions about how Rowan’s expansion affects current students. Between this and similar issues including available parking, there is a perception among some students that Rowan is irresponsible by enrolling more students without having the proper infrastructure required to support them. While a “freshman village” and a new housing complex on Rowan Boulevard are in the works, students feel they are suffering the short-term consequences for Rowan’s long-term goals.
While these perspectives are justified, it is worth noting a few things. For one, Rowan has made it clear in its orientations, literature and emails that housing is not guaranteed for juniors and seniors. This falls in line with the policies of other larger universities. Rutgers, for example, doesn’t even guarantee housing for sophomores, and uses a housing lottery system similar to Rowan’s.
There are also plenty of off-campus housing options available. Campus Crossings, Beau Rivage, Park Crest Village and Campus Terrace all provide housing that is close to campus. Crossings even allows students to defer their monthly rent until they receive financial aid disbursement checks. While these options force students to manage their money, they are still cheaper than living on campus in the long-term.
The Whit understands the frustrations of wait-listed students. The housing lottery puts students in limbo, separates roommates and creates a major inconvenience. However, a larger, more reputable Rowan University benefits all students. It adds more value to our degrees, and in turn, our resumes. The housing lottery, while tough to swallow, is a sacrifice students have to make.
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