Housing situation addressed
For the past two years, housing has been a topic of discussion on FDU’s Florham Campus. This past fall semester, students were housed in the neighboring College of Saint Elizabeth dorms, along with a few hotel rooms at first to accommodate the demand for students living on campus.
Many students believe that the increase of admitted freshmen is the sole cause for the lack of housing. However, in an interview, Dean of Students Jas Verem explained the misconceptions surrounding the housing “crisis.”
“There is no housing crisis for first-year students. There never was a housing crisis for first-year students … Where we struggle in is the upper-class housing. That’s where our shortage is,” Verem explained.
First-year student housing is in Florence Twombly, Hamilton Twombly and Buildings 7 and 8.
“It’s been like that for years. We never put them in Park, we never put them in Rutherford. … So the first-year housing has never really changed,” Verem said. “They’re not the cause of the upper-class shortage.”
Freshman housing has its own, set margin of capacity, which is different from the margin of capacity for retuning students.
“The only way you can blame freshmen is because we maintain a healthy-sized class and we retain all of them and that’s what we’re doing really well… that’s bringing up demand for return housing when they become sophomores.”
Therefore, the cause of any housing shortage is because of the retention of students, which has been increasing for the past few years.
However, if housing presents a further problem in the next few years, there is a plan.
Verem said the school has two options: either build something new or find something already built to house students, similar to what was done at the beginning of the year by sending students to the College of Saint Elizabeth.
“Ideally, we want to build something here on campus,” Verem said, but “building a new residence hall takes fundraising, capital and location and many other factors. So if we were going to build a new residence hall, that’s at least a minimum of three to five years away.”
Interest in creating more dorming options for students is apparent to the university, but only if the demand for housing continues for the next year.
Verem said that a new residence hall location would probably be where the softball field and tennis courts are.
“You could break down two Village buildings, and build a new building with double capacity,” Verem said.