Rowan’s rising student population causes housing crisis for some

Holly Pointe Commons houses most freshmen on campus. - Photo / Miguel Martinez

Editors’ Note: This article has been edited post-publication to correct grammatical errors.

Over the past decade, Rowan University has been the epicenter of incredible change. The university, and the greater Glassboro area, has seen a large influx of business, wealth, and people, particularly college students. As the university celebrates its steady rise in college rankings and students settling in for the new semester, other students are certainly having a far more difficult time setting up their residency. 

As of right now, nearly 50 upperclassmen have established residency at the Marriott Hotel on Rowan Boulevard. Due to an increase of freshmen students and last minute housing sign ups, Residential Learning and University Housing (RLUH) offered these students the option to stay at the hotel to start off the fall semester. 

Courtyard by Marriott hotel where Rowan’s students are housed. Photo / Miguel Martinez

Though it’s not a “traditional” college dorm by any sense of the word, the students living at the hotel do have access to many of the amenities at the hotel such as a pool, a laundry room, and a fitness room. Furthermore, they’re currently overseen by a graduate coordinator acting as their Residential Assistant (RA) during their temporary stay.

Despite the fact that these students are placed in some of the better accommodations at Rowan, their overall deal is a little more disgruntled and realistic than it’s made out to be.

Computer science major Nick Parikh is less enthusiastic about his stay at the Marriott. Starting his semester as a junior, Nick is among the many upperclassmen living at the hotel and has a more pragmatic feeling of what his stay might entail.

“Even though my roommate doesn’t often show up and I’m lucky enough to be by myself, I have a few people I know here that have close to two extra people living in one hotel room,” Parikh said. “It’s definitely a nice place for a temporary situation, but I totally expect to be here for most of September. Maybe even until the early part of October. If I’m here until, like, the second week of October, I’m going to be upset.”

RLUH has stated to The Whit that the temporary hotel stay is merely used as a means of residency until spaces open up on campus.

“Once we have vacancies available on campus,” RLUH stated, “we will reassign the students from the hotel.”

Another upperclassman living at the hotel is Argenis Sanchez, who also shares in Parikh’s mindset. The senior, a elementary studies major, certainly feels the same way as Parikh, but is more concerned about where his loans are going to and wonders if the hotel could be profiting off of his loans.

“The place that I’m staying at is nice and all, but if I’m going to be staying here for a longer period of time I’d like to know where my loans are going to,” Sanchez said. “I don’t want to find out that I have to pay back both the college and the hotel.”

To make matters even more troublesome, the freshmen housing situation at Holly Pointe Commons is also facing some difficulties. With many of the 6,649 home residents currently residing at Rowan as of move-in weekend, 581 more than last year, a total of 44 rooms at Holly Pointe Commons were converted into triples to accommodate the large residential population.

The triples themselves are mostly used for freshman students, but with more students come more responsibilities and burdens for RA’s. According to one RA currently assigned at Holly Pointe Commons, the number of students looking to sign up for housing at Rowan is becoming too great and that it’s an issue that needs to be addressed.

“The wait list mostly consisted of people that either signed up for housing late or didn’t pick an assignment when it was their turn,” said the RA. “Some people got placed on it because Rowan doesn’t have enough gender inclusive housing, but at the moment, Holly [Pointe Commons] has 45 triples. They originally put in a lot more and had to take them apart because not enough students elected to get put in triples.”

“Sadly to say, this ‘hotel’ issue also happened back in 2016,” the RA continued. “The last time they did hotels, everyone was in a dorm by October. Basically, Rowan is just growing too fast for its own good.”

Holly Pointe Commons. Photo / Miguel Martinez

The university does plan on building a 525-bed residential hall by fall of 2021, but the work is still in the preliminary stage and buildings, such as those, take up lots of space that would surely anger Glassboro residents and annoy commuters.

Regardless, with the 2019-2020 year being Rowan’s largest enrollment year yet, it’s likely that Rowan University will continue to be plagued with student overcrowding. When and how they’ll address the issue remains to be seen. 

“Rowan is very much just trying to cover the issues with a band-aid, instead of actually fixing and discussing any of the growing pains we’re facing,” said the Holly Pointe Commons RA.

Additional reporting by Tara Lonsdorf and Dmitri Torpey.

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