As each incoming freshman class at the University of Indianapolis continues to get larger, there has been a growing demand for student housing, according to Associate Dean of Students Jonathan Yorkowitz. As this demand gets higher, the university has experienced overcrowding in the dorms, especially those commonly used by freshmen.
According to freshman communication major Jazlyn Gomez, many students have experienced some negative aspects of living in a crowded or non-traditional living environment.
Yorkowitz said that one way that the demand for on campus housing was met was by offering students the opportunity to live in rooms with three people and large, untraditional living spaces such as a lounges. This is especially applicable to first year students. Yorkowitz said that one of the benefits of living in triples is that students have a discounted housing rate compared to those who live in double or single dorm rooms.
Yorkowitz said there were efforts made by the university to help students feel comfortable with their roommates and the small space they would be sharing. During New Hounds Day, an event held over the summer for incoming freshmen, workshops were given to help students ease into their new life on campus with their roommates.
“Some of the things that we really try to do in advance is to allow students to know who their roommates are going to be so they can reach out and communicate with them to find out who they are, and even what they want to bring to the room,” Yorkowitz said. “This year during New Hounds Day, for new incoming students we provided roommate matching sessions where students were able to come to the student engagement space here in Schwitzer to find other people who were maybe in the same major, or maybe from the same town or had similar interests to them.”
Yorkowitz said that the university has been very upfront about the housing here on campus. Fairly early in the admissions process, prospective students are taken to see the dorms and are shown different types of rooms.
“I’m definitely not wanting to live in a small, tiny dorm room with three people again.”
“I think we as a university have tried to be really upfront with students as they’ve taken tours—even prospective students taking tours of the residence halls—to show them a triple room because that’s primarily what students are going to be in,” Yorkowitz said. “About 90 percent of our new incoming class is in triples or larger rooms. So we don’t want people thinking that they will get a double or a single room when that’s really not going to happen.”
Gomez currently lives in a triple dorm room. Initially, upon seeing the room at the start of the semester, Gomez said that she and her mother feared that there would not be enough room for three people and all their individual belongings. However, Gomez said that despite their worries the experience has been somewhat positive, though she and her roommates still experience some difficulties at times.
“You know, it’s hard living with three people in one room. I do come from a home that has a bunch of siblings and I’ve roomed with my siblings at times,” Gomez said. “But it’s kind of hard to room with people you don’t know until you finally meet them on the first day that you’re living together. We get along, it’s just that sometimes here and there we have a couple hiccups where we get angry at each other or we just want to throw each other out the window, but otherwise we’re okay.”
Though she is making do with her current living situation, Gomez plans to move from her triple dorm room next year in to a larger room with only one roommate.
“I plan to move to Central next year because it comes with your own bathroom and probably living with just one more person and that’s it,” Gomez said. “[I would be] living in a suite with three other people and then it would be bigger. But I’m definitely not wanting to live in a small, tiny dorm room with three people again.”
Opportunities have opened for students to be able to move away from triple rooms second semester. According to Yorkowitz, the university is working hard to provide other options to decompress in areas where students are spaces that are overcrowded.
“I think we’ve had almost 150 students from triples take that option to move into a different space for semester two,” Yorkowitz said. “The other thing I think is really exciting is the University Lofts are opening in January. That will have students able to move there. So thats why we’re able to move students second semester from the triples to other single and double occupancy rooms is because students have opted to move over into the that other facility. So I think by opening that, that’s helping some of that and we hope that will help continue to make the experience even better for students in the future.”