Editorial: ‘Nova housing needs serious improvement

It’s time to do something about the pitiful housing situation at Villanova.

As Candidates’ Weekend opens and as acceptance letters flood mailboxes across the country, the University must act upon the fact that it does a woefully inadequate job of providing students with places to live. The enormous size of the class of 2005 cripples its living conditions, along with those of the rising juniors and incoming freshmen.

Rising sophomores were encouraged to volunteer to live in doubles in a coed Fedigan Hall, traditionally a male freshman dorm. Similarly, Good Counsel and McGuire Halls will have the option of becoming triples in an effort to house students, while the now-coed Corr Hall’s rooms, which measure just over 12 feet by just under 8 feet, a suitable size for a single, are optional doubles for sophomores.

Aside from receiving a discounted room rate, a student who accepts these conditions is guaranteed housing in the apartments or a single in his or her junior year, depending on his or her preference.

Equally horrific in the housing department is the isolation of transfer students at Harcum College. Villanova places a huge emphasis on community, but how are new students, who do not have the benefit of knowing anyone, supposed to integrate themselves when they don’t even live on campus?

Of course, this doesn’t even begin to cover senior housing, which is non-existent at the University. Rather than finding a way to put seniors on campus, Villanova casts them out into the unfriendly surrounding neighborhoods, which bide their time enacting laws which make student housing more and more difficult. It is insulting for a school that prides itself so highly on the care of its students to eject them from campus after three years.

The obvious solution is to build more housing-additional residence halls for freshmen and underclass students and a complex especially for seniors. Will it be easy to secure funding-and, more importantly, land-for such building projects? Not at all. But it is possible. Acquiring the land to expand the West campus apartments was difficult, but it was achieved through determination. Such would be the case for underclass housing-hard work leading to the ability to house an entire class that previously lived off-campus..

Instead of spending money on a needed (but not essential) greenhouse that is already beset with problems, or on renovating the candy counter in Connelly Center, the University should explore the possibility of keeping seniors on campus and expanding housing overall.

This solution is years away from becoming a reality though, and in the interim, the University needs to reduce the quantity of acceptance letters that it mails out each April. This would not only drive down the student-teacher ratio, but it would also erase the difficulties that students currently face in the housing forum.

Only when the University builds extra housing can it possibly expand its incoming class sizes.