Thursday, March 3, 2016

Record-setting enrollment ushers in diversity, presents challenges

By Anna Herod

SAN MARCOS—Texas State University had record-setting enrollment for the 18th year in a row, making the 2015-2016 student body the most diverse the institution has ever hosted. 
According to a university press release, 38,006 students were enrolled at Texas State as of last fall. In the fall of 2014 there were only 36,764. 
Effects of the increase have been felt across the Texas State community—from parking, class sizes and room availability to the overall atmosphere on campus. 
"These are exciting times at Texas State," said President Denise Trauth. “Not only does the university have more students than ever before, we have more students taking more hours. That reflects strongly on our students’ success, and our students earning their degrees in a timely manner.”
Provost Eugene Bourgeiois said the fall freshman class, made up of 5,272 students, is the largest in the university’s history. 
Megan Osburn, elementary education sophomore, said she chose to come to Texas State because it is a large school. 

“More people just makes for a more diverse environment where you get to learn alongside a lot of different kinds of people,” Osburn said. “It just enriches the experience.”

However, Osburn said there are some inconveniences that come along with an influx of students. 

“I mostly notice it in my role as spirit chair for my sorority,” Osburn said. “We are always needing to rent a room in the LBJ Student Center, but if you don’t schedule multiple weeks in advance, you get turned away.”

In the Feb. 22-25 Student Government election, students voted in favor of increasing the LBJSC fee by $36 in the next two years to fund an expansion of the building. 

Jack Rahmann, director of the LBJSC, said the fee increase proposal was made because university officials hope to accommodate the growth of the student body and create a better first impression, since the center is usually the first building prospective Bobcats enter. 

Osburn said she is pleased with the approval of the fee increase because it will mean more space will be available in the future for students to use when they want to host organizational events on campus. 

Although Osburn feels as though the university is accommodating its growth well, she thinks they can do better where parking is concerned. 

“Parking on campus is a nightmare for everyone,” Osburn said. “Permits are just super expensive and then even when you buy one, you can’t find a parking spot during the day unless it’s way out by the stadium.”

She said the only thing that offsets the inconvenience of having to park by the stadium is the fact that shuttle service is offered in that area so students can get a ride to the center of campus. 

“I still feel that the university could do better when it comes to parking,” Osburn said. “As far as how it is related to the increase, of course if you have more people you are going to have a tighter parking situation.” 

Aside from parking lots and the LBJSC, affects of the growing student body are also felt in the classroom. 

“My class sizes aren’t what they said they were going to be when I started here,” said Eddie Dees, computer science senior. “They said the average size class would be at least in the thirties or smaller. Definitely not 50 or more people per class.”

Dees feels larger classes have taken away from his learning experience. 

“I am a one-on-one learner versus a lecture learner,” Dees said. “The most noticeable thing is that there isn’t enough seats in some of the classrooms. There’s people who spend the whole semester sitting on the floor, that’s not fair to them.” 

However, Dees said he is in favor of continued growth of the university. 

“I think it should continue to grow, but I think it should focus on building sustainable infrastructure for long-term growth,” Dees said. “They need to find ways to continue to grow the school while keeping the small town, closely knit feel that San Marcos has.”

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