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617 Was Company, 653 is a Crowd:Dorm Changes After Over-Enrollment
elizabeth whitton 12 opinioneditorial editor volume 86
September 30, 2009

There is good news and bad news regarding the unexpectedly high acceptance rate of freshmen last spring. The good news is that Deerfield welcomed an exceptional group of new students. The bad news? There were not enough dorm rooms to accommodate them.

Over the summer, many dorms were reconfigured. Some singles became doubles, a few faculty apartments were made smaller, and many common rooms were converted into bedrooms. These abrupt changes were necessary due to the short amount of time before the new students arrived; they have resulted in a range of reactions among students and faculty.

Photo by Jennifer Coulombe '10
Photo by Jennifer Coulombe ’10

No one believes that the removal of the common rooms is an ideal situation. Richard Dorhmann, who lives with his family in Pocumtuck, noted, “It has been difficult not having a common room. In the past, it was where we could all gather and be together. The basement can serve as a space for this, but it is a little less convenient.”

Nevertheless, one of the proctors in Pocumtuck, Madeline Keeshan ’10, believes that “Although the basement is not as easy to get to, it is a bigger, more comfortable space where our whole dorm can congregate.”

Most common common spaces are now doubles, and in some cases triples. This is an especially controversial circumstance, as the school has been known for providing singles for almost all incoming students. A new sophomore, Elizabeth Yancey ’12, who lives in a triple, recalled, “I was shocked when I found out, a week before school started, that I would be living in a triple. I am happy now, as both of my roommates and my whole dorm have been very welcoming and supportive of me in what could have been a difficult situation.”

Photo by Jennifer Coulombe '10
Photo by Jennifer Coulombe ’10

This attitude is shared by most students who are in a similar situation, evidence that our community can adjust to changes when they are necessary.

Another modification to the traditional dorm organization is the choice to have seniors proctor juniors. In the past, seniors have only proctored in underclassmen dorms to support and advise the younger students. This year, proctors also live in two upperclassmen dorms.