Junior finance major Tres Underwood and freshman business communications major Muhammed Amir share a storage room that has been newly repurposed as their dorm room.
The men share a closet with no bar, a room with no Wi-Fi and a TV with only 10 channels. Underwood was just glad to get a dorm room.
“I was transferring out of my old school, and I didn’t know where I was going to go,” Underwood said. “I applied late, and they told me they had barely any room left. Honestly, as long as I got into a dorm I was going to be happy.”
Underwood and Amir’s experiences reflect Wesleyan’s housing situation, which is now at 101 percent capacity, according to Jerri Jones, coordinator of residence life. The school’s on-campus living capacity is 522 students, but Wesleyan currently has 526.
“We have exhausted every extra space,” Jones said. “We’ve turned storage rooms back into bedrooms for students. If anymore were to come on move in day, I was getting a little fearful of what we may have to do.”
Housing for the male students is at full capacity in all dorms, while for female students there’s a few empty beds, said Stella Russell Hall director Jeremy Hunt.
Hunt has his own theories for the increase in housing residents.
“I think we’ve recruited from a lot of the surrounding areas,” Hunt said. “Our admissions and recruiting team did a wonderful job.”
While Hunt shares Jones’ feeling of being overwhelmed by the influx of students, he believes it is a good thing that they’re sharing in the on-campus living experience.
“It is a little bit overwhelming, but at the same time from a professional standpoint it’s good,” Hunt said. “We are inviting a lot of students to get that on-campus living experience where they meet different people, different cultures and different backgrounds. For me, that is good, but I’m still learning how to supervise students – now a bit more students.”
All the new students living on campus has created the need for adjustments, Hunt said. Freshman biological chemistry major and music minor Jonathan Jimenez has experienced those adjustments first-hand.
“I was given a room grant through the music school, which only gives $2,055 per semester – just enough to stay in Stella,” Jimenez said. “When I actually applied for housing, I applied late and ended up getting a room in OC Hall. I wouldn’t say it’s a straight move up, but I do get my own restroom which is a pretty good perk for applying late.”
Jimenez wasn’t required to pay the difference in dorm prices since he originally applied to Stella, and he wasn’t the only student to gain benefits after applying late. Underwood and Amir gained a personal bathroom in their revamped dorm, a nice amenity compared to the community showers that the rest of Stella residents have to use.
“We got our own showers,” Underwood said. “We’re kind of happy about that.”
Amir believes the room to be golden except for the lack of internet.
“It’s not that bad,” Amir said. “We’ve both seemed to work with the space we’ve had.”
Hunt appreciates the pair’s patience as he works to make adjustments. He believes that building a new on-campus living facility would be a step in the right direction.
“In my mind, I think the numbers show, especially from this recent move, that building a more dorms is something we should highly consider,” Hunt said. “I think that overtime we’ll definitely try to get there.”