The Saint Anselm Crier

Bigger classes mean bigger problems for students

Samantha Jette, Copy Editor

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The recent rise in the Saint Anselm College student population has left many wondering about accommodations on campus. Many seasoned students of the Hilltop are aware of the regular crowds at the school, such as the lines in Davison Hall during the 12:30 lunch rush. However, the new semester brings about 600 new faces as the Class of 2022 joins the college community.

This year’s freshmen make up the second largest class in Saint A’s history, and are expected to push the student population well over 2,000 for the first time ever, according to the college website. These unprecedented numbers have raised concerns among students about the college’s ability to provide for each individual’s needs.

There has been significant discussion among students about on-campus housing accommodations. Currently, upperclassmen are facing repercussions of living in dorms that are not necessarily designated for their grade. A sophomore student who preferred to remain anonymous spoke to The Crier about living in Baroody Hall, a dorm that is also inhabited by freshmen women.

While stating that she considers Saint A’s her “second home,” the student expresses her disappointment in the housing lottery system.

She explained, “When I went on my tour to Saint A’s, I remember being told that Baroody is for freshmen and transfer students…as a school, they pride themselves on keeping the classes together throughout all four years. I feel a little slighted by the school, and somewhat forgotten about in their movement to make the classes bigger, and I just hope it doesn’t affect me in other aspects on campus.”

Upperclassmen are not the only students who face overcrowding in dorms. For the first time in recent years, the double rooms in Joan of Arc Hall will now house three freshmen women instead of two.

Androlla Mitri, a freshman social work major, and resident of Joan of Arc Hall, remarked, “When I received the email with my assigned roommates, I was surprised that it had three names.”

Mitri described the challenges of living in a triple: “At first I felt the room was overcrowded…we had to work around sharing clothing space, work space, and sleeping space…The problem is there were only two closets for three people, and one dresser. We had to figure out who would need the dresser the most, and how we were going to fit all of our clothing and belongings in one closet space.”

However, Mitri said that the accommodations “ended up working out very well.” Mitri added, “I get along with my roommates very well…Honestly, if I had the chance, I wouldn’t change to a double; I feel at home with my roommates and they make me feel comfortable in this living environment.”

Another issue that has sparked interest among students is the availability of counseling services. The College Health Services department is dedicated to providing a variety of medical and counseling services, as well as educational programs for students. According to the college website, “The college encourages students who are experiencing personal, emotional or social difficulties, or who simply need support and encouragement, to seek the services of a personal counselor.”

Students are particularly concerned that due to budget cuts, the number of individual counseling sessions may be limited to once every two weeks. In response to this concern, a petition was created on Change.org, and has circulated the college community through online media.

The goal of the petition, which has over 750 supporters, is to “spread awareness of this new issue and to implore the Board of Trustees to reconsider their allocation of funds.” The writers fear that students who desire frequent counseling sessions would be forced to seek off-campus help if the college Health Services cannot meet their needs. The petition argues that these students may face problems with transportation and insurance when seeking outside mental help.  

However, Director of Health Services, Maura Marshall, posted a comment on the petition which cleared up some misconceptions about the counseling services. Marshall stated that while Health Services underwent budget cuts like many other departments, “the Student Affairs Administration worked diligently to come up with a plan to sustain the high quality medical and counseling care that we provide for our students.”

Marshall stressed that Health Services has shown dedication and commitment to helping the Saint A’s students. She pointed out that contrary to the rumors, Health Services has “been able to maintain the same amount of counseling hours in [their] budget, [and have] increased the amount of 24 hour emergency on-call counseling available.”

She included that “this was achieved by counselors agreeing to take a 10% cut in pay so that [they could] preserve the services for [their] students.”

Marshall also refuted the claim that the amount of counseling services would be decreased in the upcoming year, stating “Health Services has always had a short-term counseling model in place.” She added that “Mental Health Services would not be rescinded unless we were certain that the student and the counselor agreed upon a plan of care that the best practice is a collaborative referral without a financial or a transportation barrier.”

Marshall finished her comment with gratitude to the students for their support of the department, but voiced her concern that the petition may create a barrier to students seeking mental health services, for fear that they may not be accommodated.  

While the population of Saint Anselm increases, it appears that the faculty and staff will continue to work tirelessly to keep students as their top priority. However, students are in agreement that further accommodations may need to be provided if the population continues to grow at the current rate.

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Bigger classes mean bigger problems for students