Growing numbers are causing growing pains at Columbia College because of an increase in the number of students living on campus.
Barb Payne, director of public affairs, called it a great problem to have.
“We are at an all-time high,” Payne said.
This semester, which began Monday, 334 students live on campus — up from 301 last year and more than the college can easily accommodate in its three residence halls. Until this year, freshmen, sophomores and students receiving financial aid from the college were required to live on campus unless they were married or had parents living in Boone County.
“It is important to us that all our new students live on campus to get better connected to the institution,” said Faye Burchard, dean of campus life. Now, seniors may live off campus.
“I think it is a natural transition for them to move from the residence halls into an apartment,” Burchard said. “It is nice if they can do that while they are still in school where they have a support system.”
Not only are Columbia College students moving off campus — they’re camping out in residence hall lounges. At the start of the semester, seven students were doing that.
“I volunteered to live in the lounge,” said Jason Boeckman, a sophomore studying computer information systems.
Boeckman had a room assignment but gave it up and has been living in the second-floor lounge of Banks Hall for the past week and a half.
“I didn’t worry about it — I just spent a lot of time in other people’s rooms,” Boeckman said. A room was found for him on Thursday.
When the college is at normal capacity, residential advisers are given rooms of their own in the residence halls. This year, they all have roommates.
“Everyone has been real agreeable — the whole experience has been very positive around here,” Burchard said.
In their attempt to find everyone a home, Burchard and Payne discovered that many students, even seniors, had grown accustomed to an on-campus lifestyle.
“Many students did not want to move off campus,” Payne said.