By Liz Calvo
Now that Barry is back to in-person learning, many new students will finally get their full college experience. Many students now come to campus regularly and, throughout the first weeks of the semester, students have felt that the campus is overcrowded.
Sophomore business marketing major Cazmir Williams has this sentiment. This is Williams’ first time on Barry’s campus.
“It’s definitely overcrowded, but that’s probably how the campus was before COVID-19,” said Williams.
First-year nursing student Kanala DeHoniesto disagrees.
“I don’t feel like campus is overcrowded, but rather it probably has the same number of students as other universities,” said DeHoniesto.
Despite some student concerns, Assistant Dean of Students Matthew Cameron assures students that the campus is not technically overcrowded.
“It is important to note that we are not at, or over, capacity for Fall 2021 on the main campus,” said Cameron.
As for the residence halls, some empty dorms are being used for isolation, in case someone contracts COVID-19. This is Barry’s way of making sure that students who must quarantine will not have to do so at their own expense and will be able to stay on campus.
As a result of these quarantine dorms, some Barry students have been forced to move into a local hotel when dorms are unavailable for the fall semester.
“It has been a longstanding practice to provide overflow housing at local hotels for students in years we are able to arrange it,” said Cameron.
He emphasized that this method of using hotels as student housing is not unique or an indication of overcrowding.
As of Aug. 15, there were 89 students assigned to the Best Western Inn on the Bay, according to Cameron.
As housing space becomes available on-campus, Cameron says the school has plans to move students from hotels back to Barry’s campus.
DeHoniesto, however, notes that that the university has said they are waiting for seniors to move out because that usually happens in the first few weeks.
DeHoniesto has been staying at a local hotel since the beginning of the semester. While she appreciates the relief from campus, she notes that it is not the best accommodation.
“The hotel is a nice break from campus, but it’s not convenient when it comes to getting to classes, going to events, and hanging out with friends,” said DeHoniesto. Williams agrees.
“I like staying at the hotel better than campus, but I'd rather be on campus since all my friends are [t]here and I wouldn’t have to worry about time management,” said Williams.
Beyond life in the dorms, students coming back to campus has resulted in a lack of parking. Students are sometimes forced to drive around the lot in hopes of finding a space.
The struggle for parking has forced Emily Yagudaev, a senior psychology major and commuter student, to park her car two blocks away from the campus.
“It is very time consuming to try and find parking at Barry University. It is half the reason why most people are late,” said Yagudaev. “Even when we come early, there is never any parking available.”
Jennifer Boyd-Pugh, vice president for university administration, says the university is working to fix this problem.
“As members of our community adjust to again coming and going from campus each day, we are also taking this opportunity to assess potential changes to parking in key lots across main campus as well as overflow parking to best accommodate everyone,” said Boyd-Pugh.
Another issue that students are facing is the long lines at eateries across campus. During breakfast and lunch, some students have waited so long that sometimes they prefer to leave without eating.
For those who do wait, sometimes a food item is not available due to the number of students who order it.
Cameron believes that long lines are common during certain hours on any college campus.
“As on any vibrant college campus, at peak hours some lines are to be anticipated in food service areas,” said Cameron. “While what we are seeing is a change from the previous 18 months when many students, faculty and staff were remote, it actually marks a return to more ‘normal’ times.”
Students, however, view the long lines as an inconvenience. Williams is one of those students.
“It sucks that we have to wait in long lines this year, and if I don’t get food from campus, I have to pay for it myself at the hotel,” said Williams.
DeHoniesto, on the other hand, has not had to deal with this problem too much.
“I’ve only had a problem at Subway or Dunkin when it comes to items running out, but it was like that sometimes-last year,” she said.
As the semester progresses, students hope to fully adjust to the newly-crowded campus.