New College welcomed a record-breaking enrollment in Fall 2023, boasting the highest number of students in recent memory—an astounding 30% increase from Fall 2022. Despite this enrollment boom, some students expressed concerns about the limited activities and food options available during Fall break. A Catalyst reporter who stayed in Sarasota conducted interviews with other students who chose to stay on campus during the break. Their experiences offer valuable insights into campus life during this time.
For most students, Fall Break commenced on Oct. 21, as they either headed to airports or road-tripped home. But for those who opted to remain on campus, scarce events, limited social interactions and, at times, no sight of other students yielded in less than thrilling situations.
“It felt like a ghost town,” second-year Karen Robertson remarked.
During the break, only two events were offered to on-campus students and Home2 Suites residents: “Hair Care” and “Crafty Time.” Both events suffered from low attendance, most likely due to the majority of the student population being away.
“Hair Care,” hosted by resident advisor (RA) and second-year William Lopez, aimed to educate attendees about the science behind different hair products and to help Home2 Suites residents discover the best hair routine based on their hair type. In addition, a raffle was offered at the end of the event, with the products used during the demonstration as prizes. However, as Lopez explained, “The one resident who stayed consistently and someone who showed up at the end received the raffled products due to the lack of audience.”
“Crafty Time” was hosted by third-year and President of the Satanist Club Matthew Senecal. This event allowed students to unwind and engage in arts and crafts, with a variety of materials including mini canvases and scrapbook papers at their disposal.
“We have typically been seeing about 10-12 people at each club meeting, but this one was a bit smaller,” Senecal stated. “I believe about seven people showed up.”
In addition to the scarcity of events, Metz Culinary Management reduced its typical spread, with certain food stations inactive for the duration of Fall Break. Fortunately, Boars Head was also open, albeit not all day. As first-year Beverly Violet observed, “As the week continued, I noticed there was less variety.
“I thought it would be better because there were fewer students but the options were very limited,” Robertson added.
The absence of events and underwhelming dining choices left some of those who stayed on campus feeling isolated and dissatisfied. Addressing these issues could greatly enhance the campus experience during breaks, ensuring that all students, regardless of their plans, have access to a vibrant and engaging campus environment.