Titus: Record enrollment hampers students


Jen Hao Wong/Iowa State Daily

The increase of students in ISU has causing the overflow of the dining hall.

Katie Titus

We have all noticed the immense number of students traveling through campus these past few weeks. Iowa State’s enrollment this year is at a record-breaking 33,241; that’s 2,106 more students than the student enrollment in 2012. Record enrollment looks great for the university, but how are housing, dining centers and classrooms going to hold this overload of students?

“The dining centers are too crowded,” said freshman Hannah Haler. “The lines are too long, and they should just build another dining center.”

Three out of five students I randomly interviewed were not impressed with the Iowa State’s dining centers, most saying that they are too crowded and they had trouble finding a place to sit. The same overwhelming feeling can be observed in the classroom.

Another standard problem of a large university is walking into a lecture hall of 400 students, which can be nerve-wracking for new students, but what makes it worse is when there are too many students in the hallways to even get to class on time.

In some of the classes I have been to, the seating has been so limited that I’ve had trouble finding a seat if I was not early. There have been times so far this year where I have had to leave my house at least a half an hour before class just to get to class on time, and I live on campus. Walking to class, it’s hard to get around the “slow walkers” when the sidewalks are flooded with students.

Additionally, consider the university paid upperclassmen to move out of the dorms at the beginning of the year to make more room for the incoming freshman class. This record enrollment is no surprise with Iowa State having students from every county in Iowa and from at least 100 countries, but how do these numbers affect the students’ everyday lives?

The buses are often where the number of students on campus is most noticeable. Students sometimes have to wait for several buses to pass by before actually getting picked up; when they do get on the buses there is most likely standing room only, and it can be hard to squeeze through the throngs to catch the stop you need.

We walk through a sea of people to the bus stop that wades us through the crowd, and then we are thrown back into the ebbing and flowing tide of students rushing to class. When we actually get to class, we are so overwhelmed by the vast number of students that even focusing in class can be a challenge.

Larger class sizes mean more distractions in class, and the lines at the testing center continue to grow with each passing week. In order for Iowa State to accommodate all of these students properly we will need to expand. Progress toward new dining facilities, more proctored testing centers and new on campus housing are things the university should consider.

Iowa State is on the right track, however, in having built new buildings on campus to offer more classes and building new residence areas, such as the new apartments in the Frederiksen Court area. But Iowa State just cannot possibly keep up in architecture with the amount of students rushing in every semester.

Students need to make their needs heard. Attending faculty and council meetings to express their feelings about what adjustments need to be made so the university knows what the students want. After all, this is a university full of students; we need to rise up and take charge.

Any changes made by student voices or ISU leaders will be slow. In the meantime, it’s ultimately your responsibility to make it to classes on time, regardless of obstacles. Next time you head out the door to class, give yourself some time to catch the bus and plenty of time to walk so you will make it on time. Make sure you get to class early in order to grab a seat, because from the looks of it, student enrollment is only on the rise.