Leighton VanDerMooi-Staff Writer
Over the past few years, Dordt’s steady enrollment increase has created a lack of on-campus housing. Dordt administration has become overwhelmingly worried about what to do with the excess students, especially with the new pro-tech program starting next fall. This issue is especially causing problems for upperclassmen living in apartments as living spaces designed to hold three or four people, comfortably, will now be used to house five, six, even seven students.
A couple cornfields away, Dordt’s neighbor to the south, Northwestern College, is facing the opposite problem and encountering enrollment and financial problems. However, in an effort to meet the needs of both schools, Robert Taylor, Dordt’s Dean of Students, contacted Marlon Haverdink, Northwestern’s Dean of Student Life, about Dordt’s housing shortage and proposed a plan that Haverdink jumped at without taking a breath.
“We have had a major drop in enrollment in the past decade, and we have had whole halls sit empty for years,” Haverdink said. “When Robert contacted us about possibly renting out a few halls or even a whole building, we saw it as a good opportunity to help our financial situation.”
Starting in the fall of 2017, Dordt will take over the first two floors of Northwestern’s boy’s dormitory, Colenbrander Hall, one floor of the boy’s dorm, Hospers Hall, one floor in the girl’s dorm, Fern Smith Hall and one wing in the girl’s dorm, Stegenga Hall.
Lindsay Hubbell, resident director of Fern Smith Hall, is excited to integrate the women of the two schools.
“I think this will offer the two schools a way to get to know each other better and gain a wider group of friends,” she said.
When Taylor first presented the plan to the student body, underclassmen were not as receptive as administration had anticipated.
“You would have to wake up earlier in the morning, the commute is, like, 20 minutes long and there are only two busses going back and forth to campus,” said freshman nursing major Mikaela Patterson. “It seems like it will be a pain in the butt.”
However, as the idea moved out of the planning stages and more details were offered, students began to get on board.
“I feel like this adds a new dynamic to the college experience,” said Joseph Bartels, a freshman worship arts major. “It also doubles the dating pool, which is a plus.”
After spring break, a small group tested the waters and agreed to occupy a few of the empty rooms at Northwestern for the remainder of the semester. These students are those with more of a lax schedule whose classes start later in the day.
Starting in the fall of 2017, 150 Dordt students will move into Northwestern housing.
All students participating in the program will receive a shared meal plan that can transfer between both colleges. Plus, students get 50 dollars to spend at the Northwestern book store, a strategy that will allow them fit in on the Orange City campus. Students will receive free access to the Raiders’ library, gym and other on-campus amenities, as well.
Editor’s Note: All Zircon articles are the Dordt Diamond’s semi-annual homage to the time-honored, First Amendment-protected, great American tradition of satire. The literal truths of these articles are not to be taken at face value, but we hope the hidden truths allude to the absurdities of some of the realities we face in society today.