Growth on APU’s campus raises questions of accomodation

“Did you know they are going to tear down the Mods next year?” said every APU student, ever. “Yeah, I heard it is because they might run out of space for the upperclassmen.”


Senior business management major Aranda Koch hears this rumor around campus every year. Fortunately, it is untrue, hence the term, “rumor” — APU is not tearing down the Mods.


However, Senior Director of Undergraduate Admissions Dave Burke said that space has always been a concern at APU in the past few years.


It is undeniable; APU has grown significantly in the last decade. This fall, 1,254 freshmen enrolled at APU — a substantial increase compared to fall of 2002 with only 848 freshmen.


“We had very different freshman class goals 10 years ago than we do today,” Burke said. “A few years ago, we took our freshman class from about 850 students each year up to 1,100. Now we have been aiming for a freshman class of 1,200.”


According to Burke, increased enrollment in private schools over the past decade or so has added to APU’s development.


“The state of California’s budget crisis has had a huge impact on the ability of state-funded schools to enroll students and move them towards graduation with the resources necessary for their students to succeed,” Burke said. “Therefore, private schools all over California have had enrollment increases over the last handful of years.”


Recent growth can be attributed to factors beyond the limits of state-funded schools.


“Azusa Pacific University has been on an upward trajectory in terms of reputation, name recognition and program expansion at the undergraduate and graduate levels,” Burke said. “The expanding programs and increasing notoriety APU has received have aided this university in growing at unprecedented levels.”


One side effect of this increase in acceptance and enrollment is a rise in housing demands. Director of Housing Services Lanny Cram has seen at least one, if not all, of the residence areas with tripled rooms since he joined APU in 2004.


“In recent years, both residence halls and apartments have had maxed-out rooms,” Cram said. “I do not think we have had a year where we did not tripled somewhere.”


More and more rooms in the residence halls and apartments are continuing to get “the triple treatment” due to the steady escalation in class size.


“A freshman this year will more than likely be tripled at some point as they go through their sophomore, junior and senior years in campus housing,” Cram said.


Freshman accounting major Claire Bultema currently lives in a double and does not see tripling for the next few years to be a problem.


“It is a big deal freshman year because you have to learn to live with people you do not really know,” Bultema said. “After that, I will be able to choose who I want to live with. As long as they are my friends and are OK with me, I do not see it being a problem to share space.”


However, freshman prospective nursing major Jeanette Tronrud shares how easily conflicts arise with adding one additional roommate.


“I would prefer having just one other roommate,” Tronrud said. “Two of us get along great, but sometimes there can be tension between the two and the other. We get along well enough, but it would be easier with two people.”


In accommodation of the enlarged size of the incoming freshman classes, Residence Life has taken a new direction in their approach to connecting with the freshmen and students in general.


Sophomore biblical studies major and RA of Third Central Adams Brigitta Fader supports the new change made by Residence Life.


According to Fader, the program model has transitioned this year from an event-focused model to a model more focused on one-on-one relationships.


“As the community continues growing, it is going to be harder for there to be individual connections with people, which means it is going to be harder for people to feel like they fit in,” Fader said. “I admire Residence Life’s shift to try and keep people feeling connected.”


Junior business management major and RA of Third South Trinity McKenna Bennett has been enjoying participating in the new direction Residence Life has taken.


“It has been a great opportunity to invest in these girls and hear them out without the entire hall around us,” Bennett said. “Personal relationships are much more valuable in the end than the big events. As numbers grow, people have the tendency to slip under the radar if we are not being intentional in seeking them out.”


Amidst the growth in class sizes and increasing frequency of tripled rooms, APU still seeks to establish a strong and purposeful community among the student body.