Many first-year students at Keene State College find themselves housed in cramped “triples.” Triples are three people living in a room initially intended for two.

With all freshmen and sophomore students required to live on campus, the crowding can get frustrating for some.

“It’s the equivalent to living in a cave,” KSC first-year student, and Randall Hall resident, Deirdre Sanders said.

Many students expressed frustration in regards to living in “caves.” Some students fell under the impression they would live in luxury after they toured resident halls such as Huntress and Fiske. “When I came in, I toured Fiske and Holloway, honestly I thought I’d be having a suite,” first-year-student Courtney Sherratt said.

Students commented on the day-to-day living and said finding comfort is hard. “This is not a dorm you can hang out in, it’s too crowded,” Sanders said. Residential Assistants stated they find the over-crowded housing situation to be difficult as well.

One RA who wished to remain unnamed stated, “I would say that a triple is a little bit harder than living in a double just because there’s that extra body. I don’t think that necessarily means you’re in the clear if you have a single or double, but there is that little bit extra of a challenge.”

The RA did state incoming students receive fair warning regarding their living conditions. “Pretty much all of the residence halls for first-years are triples and they know ahead of time. At first it’s shocking but it gets better as the year goes on.”

Having lived in a forced triple their first year, the RA added, “Yeah it causes problems but they’re problems anyway.” KSC administration acknowledged that overcrowding is a problem.

Associate Dean of Student and Director of Residential Life, Kent Drake-Deese said, “We are at about one hundred and eight percent quote design capacity, which is what our buildings intended to be when they were built,” he continued, “but we have been for years upon years upon years and so are a lot of colleges.”

The associate dean said such a situation is nothing out of norm.

“That’s completely normal. When we opened, sixty-nine percent of first-year students were in triples. That’s too high,” he said.

“We have over three hundred rooms that have at least one more person than it should have. That’s a lot. That’s basically another building right there. We could have very easily have an extra one hundred bodies,” Drake-Deese continued. The relationship with overcrowding and enrollment is one that Senior Associate Director of Admission, Bert Poirier, examined.

Poirier stated enrollment is higher than last year. “More people were admitted and took us up on the offer by May 1, [the] difference was that typically puts a crunch on housing.

”However there seems to be  an up-and-down trend for this number as this year we had 1355 paid deposits, last year we had 1259 and the year before that we had 1348 so we we’re right back to where we’ve been,” Poirier said.

To Drake-Deese, this comes down to a complex situation. “We have these buildings; we have these beds; they need to be full for the economic well being of the college and fiscal health of the college,” he said.

“You have to have strategies in place that allow that to happen while supporting student development at the same time. I think we have that. We just have to make sure that those students that are in those beds get the best experience we can offer them.” He admits though, “It’s tough to do in triples.”

Despite how it may feel for some, this is not a permanent prison sentence for first-year students.

“We do about three hundred room changes a year,” Drake-Deese said. However, the room change process continues to be a struggle.

“We sent a request a couple weeks before we moved in—they said they would see what they could do, but we never got a follow-up,” Sanders said.

Despite her lack of success, the room change process affects a large amount of the first-year student body.

“If there’s three hundred room changes a year, most of them are first-year room changes and most of them are in triples. Four people are touched by that one move, three hundred moves. If you really want to cut it down, we figure sixty-five percent, conservatively, of first-year students, are touched by a room change.”

The problem persists. “We have about sixty-one percent of the freshman class in triples,” Drake-Deese said.

They might have to wait until next year to live freely in a double or a single, but for now, that 61 percent of first-years must make the best of it.


Graham Rissel can be contacted at

Share and Enjoy !