Not only did the students come in record numbers for the fall semester, but they are living on campus more so than they ever have in the 77 year history of St. Catharine College. Many of the students have obviously bought into the new tagline, “It’s not just college. It’s home.”
The enrollment of resident students for the fall term is up 38 percent from last year. It doesn’t, however, mean that all of those new residents are living in the cozy confines of residence halls on campus – at least not yet. Because of the large influx of resident students about 40 students started the semester with a place at the inn, the Springfield Inn that is.
“We run a shuttle seven times a day for those students who don’t have transportation,” said Clay D’Lugos, assistant dean of students for residence life. “We definitely want those students to feel connected to campus.”
With the addition of the new residence hall to be completed in December, there will be no problem with the students’ connection to campus. All of those currently living in the motel will be moving to the new residence hall for the spring semester. Statistics show that resident students perform better academically, which should be a good byproduct of the larger resident population.
“I have seen a lot more campus involvement this semester,” added D’Lugos. “Since Dr. Guthrie has come (Dean of Students Vicki Guthrie) the student involvement has really increased. With our new activity fee there is money to plan a marquee event each month.”
The increase in enrollment has not been limited to the residential students as October figures showed the overall enrollment to have reached a record number. The total number of students this semester reached 755, a 13 percent increase from last fall and more than the highest previous enrollment that occurred in 2002.
At a time when a downturn in the economy has also led to declining enrollment at many institutions, Director of Admissions Toni Wiley is pleased with the increase in students this fall – and knows what factors played into that increase.
“Our transition to a four-year school, both academically and athletically, had much to do with it,” explained Wiley. “There are more students and more going on around campus. Our flexible schedule has helped also. Our parking lot is full at night for classes and that hasn’t been the case the last few years.”
Wiley is also optimistic that the trend will continue in the future. “We had a lot more campus visits in October than we have had in the past. That is always a good sign.”
Residence Hall to accommodate increase in enrollment
The new residence hall will house 72 students, which will bring the total residence hall capacity on campus to 232. In addition to the students’ rooms the new hall will have a lobby that will serve it as well as the two existing halls, Althaire and Dominic.
“We are very excited about the completion of this project that will be a $5 million investment,” said SCC President William D. Huston. “It will include a full kitchen and meeting room so our organizations on campus can host activities there.”
As Huston points out, however, the new living quarters will just accommodate the current student population. For that reason, Huston added, “We are looking next at building more residence halls that will house only upperclassmen.”