The university is packed

Students love to study at the library, campus or in college. Now more than ever. There’s just one problem: there’s not enough space. And universities need to think of a solution. 

In the academic year 2016/17 there are 264.838 people studying at the university, says VSNU. That's more than ever.

The influx of freshmen has increased with 7.8 percent, there are 5.2 percent more VWO students and 27.3 percent extra international students.

On weekdays, most libraries are open from 7 to 11 pm, weekends until 6 pm and on those hours all chairs are filled, so we could say that the idea of an extinct faculty with creaky stairs, echoing corridors, full bookshelves and empty workrooms is obsolete. And how could it be? Over the past decade the amount of students has been increased by almost a quarter. 

This conclusion stands in a report from the campus research team from TU Delft. ‘Developments that enable virtual campus, did not lead to less demand for physical space,’ concludes one of the authors.

Nowadays students can work anywhere, but due to a stricter selection, heavy study requirements and higher fees/costs that put him or her under pressure has changed the way of studying. They need direct contact so they can double check with others, read their notes right there and then - and eventually write a thesis. This way of working sharpens their mind. 

No wonder that early in the morning – around 08.15 - most libraries are fully packed already. That goes for Utrecht as much as it goes for Groningen. With opening hours in the evening and weekends the facilities might have been improved, but the problem remains the same.  

So what’s a university to do? Use the space there is in a more flexible way. Often teachers don’t have their own room anymore, but an 'area' they share with others. In a restaurant students can eat and study all together. In Utrecht they can check an app, called study spot, to see if a lecture room is available. Here, at Erasmus University we have a nice list for you. Meanwhile, your ideas on how to use the square meters on Woudestein are welcome too. 

Source: NRC