Missouri Western faces one of the highest numbers of students living on campus in its history with 1,306 residents.
At the beginning of the semester, housing was so full that students were put on a waiting list for a place in one of the residence halls.
According to Nathan Roberts, director of residential life, this issue was resolved thanks to the usual amount of no-shows.
“When we opened, we had a little bit of an overage in occupancy and we had our late applicant students doubled up in some of the spaces we normally sell as singles. [The no-shows] put us in a position of relocating those folks into the vacancies we figured we’d probably have,” Roberts said.
Among the reasons for people not showing up or leaving after the beginning of the semester are offers from other schools, family tragedies and financial problems.
“Right now, we have about a dozen vacancies around campus, taking into account the places we normally have as singles are singles now,” Roberts said. “We moved the last of those folks within the last week, so we should have accommodated everybody who was in a double over into a single.”
There are several ways to deal with the expected rise in enrollment numbers in the future.
For one, the campus master planners are assessing the possibility of a new residence hall.
Kenzie Brooks, resident assistant in Leaverton Hall, welcomes the idea of a new residence hall.
“A new residence hall would be good – especially married housing. I think people would really appreciate if they could live together with their spouse. My husband is an RA, too, so I know I would,” Brooks said.
Another option would be to change the requirements of living on campus.
“Our core mission is to support freshmen and first-time students that are full-time students and live outside that 50 mile radius being required to live on campus. Those are the folks that are required to live on campus for one year,” Roberts said. “Currently, we allow students that are taking nine credit hours, so not full-time students, to live on campus. We could look at adjusting requirements such as that to see how that would impact the occupancy to make sure we have plenty of space for those first-time freshmen, our ultimate mission.”
However, permanent double-occupancy in previously single rooms is not a preferable option to Roberts.
“I don’t think it’s the best idea to double up eight people in a suite over here in Juda or Logan. Possibly what you could look into in the case of shortage is to set up rooms so occupancy is six,” Roberts said.
Feedback from students living in double-occupancies was very distinct.
“The feedback definitely was that students like to have these spaces as one person per room,” Roberts said.
A restriction for returning students would be a less preferable possibility, too.
“I don’t really like to get into this at this point when we aren’t sure that we’re going to have volumes of new freshmen that would bump those students out, because that’s unfair to the returning students. But, that is something that I have seen that other universities have done,” Roberts said.
Neil Ross, residence hall director of both Leaverton and Vaselakos Halls, is content overall with the living situation on campus.
“It’s to the point that we’re doing what we can with what we have,” Ross said. “We always want to look towards the future, we always want to support the students here at Missouri Western. So, with that master plan committee, we’re being able to sit down with them and determine the needs of the students and the direction of our university as a whole. In order to gain that direction, we need to grow.”