From her office in the Nazareth Center, Sara Rothenberger sits at her desk—comfortable and focused—discussing a recent phenomenon taking place on campus. No, she isn’t talking about the unusual surge of strange weather, the hurricane and earthquake, which struck campus in recent weeks. Rothenberger, assistant director of housing and residence life, is discussing another surge: the unprecedented rise in Marywood’s resident population.
“I think about 70 percent of the new class is living on campus,” Rothenberger said. “When I first started working here in 2007, people used to talk about how we are largely a commuter campus, but I don’t think we could say that anymore.”
The number of residents, 1,085 new students, is the largest on-campus student population in the university’s history. Since 2007, for example, Marywood’s on-campus resident population has increased 25 percent. According to the Office of Housing and Residence Life, the population of students living on-campus has steadily increased in the past five years.
When asked how Marywood has been accommodating the surge in residents, Rothenberger says that effort among different departments has helped.
“We are fortunate to have a lot of help from the orientation staff, admissions, and sports teams,” Rothenberger said. “The whole campus sort of descends to help first-year students, which is really nice.”
What’s more, Rothenberger, who also teaches a University 100 course, says that students in her class have been comfortable and content in their new home.
“They’ve told me that they feel welcomed and included. I think their experience has been one of living out those core values, which is always nice to be able to say,” she said. “I think living on campus is being more and more recognized as part of what the Marywood experience is.”
One student, Alexis Varju, a freshman who lives in Loughran Hall, says her experience moving onto campus was pleasant and that, as one of the members of the new freshman class, she feels welcome.
“It’s good to have nice people around,” Variju said. “Whenever you have a question they are there to help you.”
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