There were a total of 504 incoming freshmen admitted this semester, making it the largest freshmen class in Saint Leo University’s history.
Although there has been some speculation that this number is substantially greater than pervious semesters, there are only 44 more freshmen on campus than the previous school year.
However, freshmen are not the only cause of an increase in student population. This year, the school has seen larger retention numbers of students who actually returned from previous years.
“It’s all attributed to the academic mission of the institution and the quality of the faculty, as well as the support services for each,” said Kenneth Posner, assistant vice president for Student Services.
In order to accommodate housing for the growing population, Residence Life and Student Services opened up a previously existing but unused residence hall. Located just across the parking lot from Marmion and Snyder, 28 freshmen females are now living in fully furnished villas. These villas are fully equipped with the usual standards, including a laundry facility, kitchen area, and a lounge with a TV.
“Utilizing the villas allows the staff to really target programming rather than mixing the upper classes with new students,” Posner.
“It’s a more conducive and supportive environment for the freshmen, rather than placing them in a vacancy somewhere else on campus.”
Even still, the school has not yet reached its full capacity. There are currently 49 vacancies left on campus throughout all of the dorms.
As the population increases, security remains a big issue. This year, Apartments 1-4, Henderson, Benoit, and Marmion and Snyder have working, card-swiping security locks on each of the doors. The goal is to allow any student to enter any residence hall from 8 a.m. until midnight by swiping their student ID card. After midnight, students can only use their cards to enter the building in which they currently live in. This is to prevent the entrance of anyone who does not reside in these buildings. Since Roderick Hall and Alumni Hall are unable to obtain these security systems, students are encouraged to always lock up.
“My biggest concern for safety and security on this campus is that students lock their doors,” Posner said.
As for the students, most are pleased with the increase of security.
“I feel better knowing that my door can’t be opened with just a credit card,” said Junior Anna Robinson, a resident of Apartment 4. “I think we need more security as it is. We could also afford to hire a few more security guards.”
As for the future, plans to expand the University are in the making.
“As I believe it, Dr. Kirk and the present staff are being very strategic in moving the institution forward,” Posner stated. “I think it’s a real credit to our faculty and to the work the admissions staff has done over this past year and previous years in setting up an institution where the reputation continues to grow, and we continue to track a lot of high quality students.”
Currently, the institution is actively working on the school of business, as well as increasing parking and planning for the development of additional housing on campus.