Bard College needs a new dorm and student space. We understand this has been a priority of the college for some time and that it has been difficult to find funding for the project. We sign this document, not as a petition, but as a gesture to the administration that we fully support and encourage the college's goal to find funds for for a new dorm and student space. Let's join together as a community and highlight an important mission that would make Bard an even better place.
Student government is running a campaign for a new dorm and student space this semester. There are two goals of this campaign. First, we want to add a significant amount of momentum to an already present student plea for more residence halls and space on campus. Second, we want to gather information from students about how they would like this dorm/space to look.
There are many reasons why Bard is in dire need of student space and another dormitory. Here are five main reasons:
1. To develop a better campus and community: Currently, 26% of our student body lives off campus. This is much lower than comparable schools such as Vassar, Swarthmore, and Colby. These colleges have 97-99% of their students living on campus because they have the appropriate facilities and strongly discourage their students to live off campus.
2. To bridge a gap in our residence halls: At the beginning of each academic year, the college must scramble to make enough room for all the students who want to live on campus. As a result, we currently have students living in triples that should be doubles, and doubles that should be triples. There are also students living in temporary dorms such as the tree houses.
3. We need a 24-hour student space: At present, student government imagines making the entire bottom floor of the new building a student space and the top 3 floors living quarters. Currently, there is no 24-hour student space to study, relax, or just talk to fellow Bardians. Student government hears requests for a space like this all of the time, and we see this new building as a chance to fill this need.
4. The completion of this project will make Bard more competitive on the national stage of liberal arts colleges. Student life at Bard is not up to par with similar institutions because we lack enough housing and student space.
5. A new dormitory will bring a much-needed profit to the college. Bard is undercapitalized. Our payment (tuition, room, board, fees) only provides about 66% of the operating budget each year. The operating budget includes anything from faculty salaries to Buildings and Grounds work. Bard has also committed itself to fostering various initiatives that reflect the college’s central identity such as offering a top-notch education to students from low-income families, incarcerated students, and students living in developing countries. It is even harder to maintain all of these programs in the face of continued economic uncertainty.