Editorial: More students, future problems?

Every year, we welcome a new freshman class to Rider. Granted, on any small campus like ours, it feels crowded, but this year seems worse. The lines at Daly’s are ridiculous, the library is swarming and students are on top of each other in forced triples — three students living in a standard double room. Are there really more freshmen this year than last, or is it the typical beginning-of-the-semester adjustments that have created the packed perspective?

In terms of residences, Rider is at 100 percent capacity. The number of full-time undergraduates enrolled has grown 16 percent since 2004, according to President Mordechai Rozanski’s 2010 Convocation presentation numbers, with fall 2010 undergraduate enrollment estimated to be 4,100. Fall 2009 undergraduate full-time enrollment was 4,074.

There is no doubt that we are growing in population, albeit slowly, but the question is whether or not we are beginning to outgrow our resources — facilities, personnel, etc.

Administration claims that the growth in student population is on track with the university’s goals, and enrollment rising a couple percentage points each year can be accommodated. However, according to vice president of Enrollment Management Jamie O’Hara, Rider wants to keep its population on track with the last few years so as not to change the nature of the university community. One option would be to take advantage of the incoming revenue from tuition and admit more students to keep the money flowing, but our president has said that the administration is committed to preserving the small campus feel and is instead looking to alternate forms of revenue generation — something in the students’ best interest. For example, the university is considering expanding online graduate and international programs to generate additional funds.

It is those students, though, who are currently left scrambling for parking, waiting in lines at Daly’s and living on top of each other in triples. As of the first day of classes, there were 41 involuntary triples campus-wide, totaling 123 students. The university was able to “de-triple” many students, leaving the number of involuntary triples at 15 as of Monday thanks to the prompt action of those in Housing Operations.

Much of the “campus crunch” will inevitably die down as students — particularly freshmen — adjust to college life and get to know their way around Daly’s, where to park and the best times to go to the library. However, if we continue to grow in population, even a couple percentage points each year, eventually we’ll have to start looking into additional residence halls and parking lots. Yet many students chose Rider because of the size of the campus, and we support the administration’s stated position not to change the nature of the university community.

This weekly editorial expresses the majority opinion of The Rider News. This week’s editorial was written by the Executive Editor, Allie Ward.

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