A smaller freshman class and fewer residents make for a different atmosphere on campus
The commuter population on campus has grown bigger than the resident population this year, which is a big change from the previous years. FPU has remained largely a commuter school for many years, but the numbers of commuters and transfers spiked recently.
“This year we saw an increase in transfer residents, typically juniors and seniors, and a decrease in freshmen residents,” assistant director of residence life, Amanda Wall said.
To be specific, FPU has a total of 373 students living on campus this year.
“Our numbers feel down whether they’re not drastically down; but we have a lot of transfers living in our upperclassmen housing,” underclassmen women’s residence director, Rayna Harris said. “Housing is pretty full, which is pretty cool, because typically, underclassmen is what dominates housing, but right now we actually have very full upperclassmen living areas.”
Elizabeth Tornero, a senior transfer English major, has been a commuter for her entire collegiate career. Tornero believes that FPU serves her and the other commuters well. Having been at a school where it takes hours to find parking, she was glad to have found a school where that is not an issue.
“I’ve always been a commuter. So it’s nothing new for me. What I have noticed is this campus is a lot friendlier towards commuters, we have the commuter lounge and commuter house which has really come in handy, and parking is amazing here,” Tornero said.
Commuter life has improved quite significantly over the last few years with the introduction of the commuter house and more commuter friendly events. While commuter life has appeared to improve recently, some residential students feel the emptiness of the campus more strongly.
For one thing, there was a much smaller influx of residents coming onto campus this year in comparison to the last few years. The freshman class this year was much smaller and the number of junior and senior transfers was much higher. For some seniors, they feel the difference on campus.
“It’s already a small school but it feels the smallest it’s been in all my years. FPU graduated its largest class and the campus is definitely feeling that. The cafeteria feels empty when it was once the localized area for friendships,” senior water polo player majoring in history, Nathan Olson said.
This change has been felt all over campus with the reduced number of overall residential students, but especially with the loss of the large and influential senior class from last year and the reduced energy from a smaller freshman class.
While this new change is one that requires a lot of adaption by both students and staff, many are still feeling hopeful. The FPU community is coming together to adapt to the big changes this year, while also working on new ideas to encourage more growth next year. Wall especially emphasized this hope and cohesiveness.
“Many departments on campus are putting their heads together and are coming up with plans to increase our on-campus population, and we hope to have some exciting ideas to reveal soon,” Wall said.