Dorm overflow should have been avoided

Over the past 15 years, NMU has become exceedingly attractive to prospective students from around and outside of the country. Our school has slowly made the changeover from a small commuter school, to one with drastically more resident students.

More students are applying and deciding to attend NMU, especially with the recent publicity from President Barack Obama’s visit and our excelling TLC laptop and WiMAX programs.

However, with growth must come change, and Housing and Residence Life has not made enough recent adjustments to keep up with the amount of students interested in living on-campus.

Northern requires students to live on-campus for their first two years of college. Students with special circumstances have the option to apply for an exception to the requirement, but exceptions are rarely granted.

This fall, because of a near overflow of students registered to live in the residence halls, significantly more exceptions to live off-campus were granted. These students had been previously denied, then called back when Housing realized the potential problem.

While this “one-time exception” may have temporarily solved the overflow problem, residence hall occupation numbers have been hovering around the occupancy limit of 2,600 for several years now.

With the steady increase of students interested in registering for a room in the residence halls, there has been plenty of time to weigh the options and create a plan of action to either prevent or solve this issue.

Whether it comes to building more facilities to house students or rethinking the current requirement to live in the residence halls for two years, changes need to be made to facilitate our growing out-of-state population.

It’s great that NMU has found a way to catch the interest of more students and that the residence halls are viewed as a desirable place to live. But, with so little room to grow, the university is unable to support its own policy.