Last year, Fairfield University welcomed the Class of 2025, the largest class in Fairfield history at the time. Last year’s incoming class was notified in a June 8, 2021 email from the Office of Residence Life that “at most in 10% of the class, or 150 students will be housed in 50 converted triples,” as reported by a June 29, 2021 Mirror article.
A November 2021 Mirror article reported that Director of Residence Life, Charlie Sousa, expected a large class in 2026, and referenced the “Enrollment Cliff” belief that predicted that the decline of the birth rate during the 2008 recession would lead to a 15% decline in first-year enrollment beginning in 2025. Sousa added that this cliff has not occurred at Fairfield, and instead, the University has seen quite the opposite, with enrollment numbers increasing each year.
The Class of 2026 has 1,340 students, dethroning last year’s class for largest first-year class, according to an article posted by FairfiedNews.
Sophomore Andrew Caslin lived in a converted triple in Jogues Hall during his first year. He told the Mirror in 2021, “I do have concerns going forward that there will be a housing shortage each year. As someone who has witnessed first hand the effects of having more students than you can accommodate, I am worried.”
With an even larger class, even more accommodations were needed to be made by ResLife to ensure that each on-campus first-year student had housing.
In addition to converted triples, first-year housing for the Class of 2026 also includes quads and a quintuple. Some of these types of housing were made by converting study rooms and lounges in each of the first and second-year dorm buildings.
The Mirror reached out to ResLife to confirm the number of students placed into these converted housing options, but ResLife did not respond in time of this publication.
Sophomore Logan Morris is one of the students in 42 Langguth Road currently living in converted housing, which was formerly a study room.
“I didn’t know it was a converted room at first, they told me I was in Langguth Hall, but they didn’t tell me it was a converted study space,” Morris said. “I didn’t find out it was converted until my roommate moved in a week early and told me it was a converted room.”
Since Morris lives in a converted study room, he and his roommate do not have their own bathroom, which other students living in 42 Langguth Road traditional suites have. Instead, Morris uses the gender neutral bathroom on the floor, which is shared with another group of students who live in another converted lounge on the floor.
Sophomore student Lanyon Henwood was notified in August that he was going to be put into a converted lounge in Claver Hall with three roommates.
“When I first got the email I thought it was going to be bad, and it in fact turned out to be very bad,” Henwood stated. “Living in a converted quad was unexpected and unwanted since I was originally supposed to be in McCormick Hall with only one roommate, but it turned out to be Claver Hall with three other roommates.”
Though converting the study rooms to bedrooms has helped to lessen the lack of housing, students feel the loss of these designated study areas.
“I was disappointed and felt lied to when I got to campus, because we were never told we were losing our study rooms,” says Erica Adams ‘25.
Students with majors that are commonly referred to as being rigorous are feeling disappointed with the loss of their study rooms.
“As a nursing major, it was very disappointing to see [that] on move-in day that many of our private study spaces in Langguth were converted to dorm rooms and no longer available to access” states Gabby Clune ‘25.
Adams shares those feelings, stating, “I applied to Langguth because of all the study rooms and the easily accessible resources. I saw them being good collaborative spaces where I could focus on my classes, especially since I am a nursing major.”
As 42 Langguth Road is home to the Ignatian Residential College with an application needed in order to be accepted, many are upset to lose their study spaces within the building as those spaces are vital to creating a feeling of campus within dorm halls and are hubs for academic collaboration.
First-year Caroline Amadon lives in a converted Jogues Hall lounge. She was shocked upon learning that her first college housing was going to be a quad in a converted lounge.
“When I first opened the email, I thought I had misread it, but when I realized I was with three other people in a quad I was shocked because I don’t think anyone knew Fairfield University was doing quads,” Amadon says. “It was mentioned that it was a converted lounge space, but no one really knew what it looked like until we got here.”
Meditz Hall, previously used to be exclusively junior living, however in recent years has also housed sophomores due to the increasing class sizes. This year, converted triples have also been added into Meditz.
Some of these triples were made during the post-lottery process if groups were unable to pick in the initial lottery, therefore, some of the triples were randomly assigned.
The Mirror requested comment from ResLife regarding the number of students affected by the addition of triples to Meditz, however, ResLife did not respond in time.
Sophomore John Riley describes his experience with the housing lottery as “tough” since he was split up from his original housing group and states that there was “a lot of uncertainty throughout the entirety of the process.”
“I was unsure where I was going to be living until the last week of August,” he adds.
Sophomore Aiden Toomey and his group living in Meditz were assigned a random roommate.
“We were notified on August 15,” Toomey says. “Two times that day, one with the announcement and another with the roommate assignment,” Toomey states.
Toomey describes his group as being “stunned at first” and states they were “scrambling to text each other and figure out what this all meant.”
“It was definitely a shock to the system that was in place, as we had to go through an extra application to get into our dorm, so having an abrupt change like this seemed unjustified,” Toomey says.
In regards to how Toomey felt the University communicated about the situation, he says that, “the school dealt us a hand and there really was no reason to argue it, so we decided to just move on.”
“Overall the situation was more difficult for the random roommates as they had to adjust to being in a situation where everyone else knew each other, unlike last year,” Toomey concludes.
Resident Assistants have also felt the effects of the over enrollment of the first-year class.
Junior Brittany Wiggins, an RA in Faber Hall, states, “The room that is known as the Meditation room in Faber Hall was converted into a living space for five people, which has largely increased the amount of residents on my floor and has added to the amount of people living in Faber.”
This unexpected change of rooms has added an additional workload to RAs in each of the affected buildings.
Sophomore Annamarie Tizzio, an RA in Faber Hall states, “I anticipated having a large number of residents to begin with, since all of my rooms are quads,” continuing, “I currently have 64 residents, four of them living in a converted space, that is the ‘2.5’ lounge that’s placed between the second and third floor.”
Tizzio continues, “Honestly, the whole idea of converted spaces was pretty new and sudden to me, and of course it has bothered me since I believe every student is entitled to a spacious area to themselves.”
Under these new working conditions, she remains confident and says that she “will do [her] best to help provide a good residential experience for all [her] residents while there are different living situations.”
In addition to the increase in residents for each RA, dedicated office spaces for RAs across campus have had to be moved to make space for additional converted living areas.
Upperclassmen have felt the effects as well.
Students living in the traditional townhouses entered the lottery in groups of either four or six, however, several four-person groups over the summer were notified that a fifth person would be added to their housing assignment, according to Dominic Oliveri ‘24.
Classes of 2022 and 2023 experienced converted triples within the four-person townhouses, but the Class of 2024 entered the 2022-2023 housing lottery assuming the townhouse triples had been done away.
Oliveri had a fifth person assigned to his townhouse.
“What’s the word? Unfair? Ridiculous?,” he states, “It feels absurd I got stuck with a forced triple as a junior. I don’t have the words.”