Loyola accepted its largest-ever freshman class this year and is making changes to accommodate the additional students — including moving some off campus.
The class of 2020 is made up of 2,655 students, a 19 percent increase from the previous year.
Due to the increase in students, the university converted some double rooms in San Francisco, de Nobili, Regis and Mertz residence halls into triples. Clair McDonald, assistant director for housing assignments, marketing and communications at Residence Life, said that figuring out where students would live was a little bit more challenging this year than it has been in previous years.
“We worked with admissions and our facilities teams to make sure we had enough bed spaces for students,” she said. “We strategically picked the largest doubles on campus and made those into triples.”
The housing process for upperclassmen takes place in February, and the number of incoming students for the freshman class is unknown until around May 1, which is the priority decision deadline.
“We didn’t want to displace anyone who had already signed up to live on campus because they already said, ‘We’re going to live here,’” McDonald said. “So we really didn’t do any shifting of transitioning any upper class buildings to freshman buildings.”
Still, with the living space constraints, not every student is accommodated. Loyola sophomore Christian Robinson and his roommate, who are both transfer students, live in The Sovereign on North Kenmore Avenue and are paying for housing through Loyola.
Robinson said he does not like his living situation because he feels cut off from the university and its community, which is especially problematic because he is a new student.
“I still feel like we don’t know exactly what’s going on,” said Robinson, a 20-year-old biology major. “It’s just a matter of still figuring out how to do things … versus being in a dorm where you have a floor meeting, and you get those questions answered.”
Back on campus, Regis Hall, which is primarily an upperclassman dorm, now has two first-year floors this year. McDonald said one floor of Regis is always reserved for first-year students; this year, they are housing the upperclassmen on the upper floors, and the first-years on the lower floors.
Milan Thakkar, a first-year student living in Regis Hall, said she didn’t even know Regis Hall was a residence hall option until she was assigned to live there. She said her top dorm choices were Mertz Hall and de Nobili Hall.
Thakkar, an undecided major, said she knows a lot of students living in Regis Hall from her freshman orientation group. She added that while people are still warming up, she hopes they will soon build community.
McDonald said although there are more students, Residence Life wants to give the high-quality experience that living on campus is known for.
First-year student Kristiana Russell said she enjoys living in a triple room in San Francisco Hall.
“I prefer the triple because you can do group activities with your roommates,” she said. “It’s hard to do that and have fun with just one other person. Three people help to make you feel a part of a group.”
Although the first-year marketing major requested a double, she got placed in a triple. But Russell said that it’s not only cheaper to live in a triple, but everyone has their own area in the room.
“Our room is quite large,” she said. “Everyone has a desk, bed, [and] drawer-dresser, and we still have enough space to dance.”
Another first-year student living in San Francisco Hall, Sabrina Virani, said that first she thought the room was too small for three people, but that she and her roommates have made it work.
“Now that I’ve lived there for a bit, it’s not that bad,” she said.
Residence Life has made additional changes to accommodate the 9 percent increase in transfer students this year.
Regis Hall is a great space for transfer students because it’s transitional, according to McDonald.
“It’s suite-style … has a little bit more private bathrooms for an older student,” she said. “It’s also a little bit more community-focused, which is still good for [any] first-year student.”
McDonald said since many transfer students are juniors, they are not required to live on campus.However, Residence Life tries to house as many students as possible.
Sophomore transfer Erik Pautsch said he considered living on campus.
“I spent some years in the service so that gave me … experience enough that the school is okay with me living by myself,” said the 24-year-old pre-med major. He lives at Granville Avenue and North Kenmore Avenue and really likes the proximity to campus and the Red Line.
The freshman class has continued to grow over the past five years, but Loyola does not plan on continuing to increase the size of incoming freshman classes, according to Loyola’s director of Admissions Erin Moriarty.
“We are excited with the number of students interested in being a part of our Loyola community, but we are not looking to increase our freshman class for next year,” Moriarty said.
Even without an increase in student enrollment next year, dorms will all be full again. This does not mean that sophomores will start to be allowed to live off campus next year, according to McDonald.
“There has been no discussion of a change in the University’s Residency Requirement,” McDonald said.
When asked about the possibility of constructing additional dorm buildings to solve the housing issue, McDonald said nothing is certain yet, and student input is essential.
“Residence Life will be looking at a variety of data in the upcoming months and we will solicit student feedback about our buildings to make sure we are offering students the best on-campus experience possible. McDonald said students will be asked to give feedback throughout the upcoming year as a part of our planning process.”