Food, Housing and Parking: Dahlonega is Packed

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The Fall 2022 semester at University of North Georgia has brought about new challenges. Students and staff have noticed an increase in lines for food, students living on campus, class sizes and issues with parking.

Line at Einstein Bagels. Photo by Alyssa Snelling

Ashley Graves, a sophomore education major, said, “A lot of times when I’m going to the dining hall it’s nearing out the door.” Graves also noted it’s more crowded around peak mealtimes like lunch and dinner. Rhonda Short, the night supervisor at Chow Hall, said an increase of students eating at the dining hall would be “putting it mildly.” Short said the number of students eating in the dining hall has doubled, and getting staffing back from COVID-19 has been difficult.

Short said the increase is not just around mealtime anymore, but that there is a steady stream of people almost all day, especially any time classes are let out. She suggested knowing “what you need out of chow.” During times in between lunch and dinner, around 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., Chow will only have snack food.

Graves suggested setting up two lines to get people into the dining hall and out of the main line.

This semester has brought along many problems with parking as well. Students are having to drive in circles and park across campus from their buildings. Kaitlyn Robinson, a sophomore biology major, says, “When I come back to my dorm late, I already prepare myself to have to park at the library or nowhere close to my dorm building.” She agrees that this problem has become worse since last semester. “When I get a close parking spot, I am hesitant to leave campus in fear I will not get a spot like this again,” Robinson said.

Full parking at level five Walker Drive Deck. Photo by Ashley Brehm

Beverly Martin, manager of parking and transportation services, said, “There have been some issues in certain areas on campus, especially in lot 52 (resident/commuter), lot 16 (F/S), visitor lot 15, 20, & 31.” Also due to the construction of the Cottrell Center, 119 parking spots were lost. For commuters, the shuttle is now also running to Lot 64, near the baseball and soccer fields, to provide additional ways to park and get to campus.

Along with students, professors are feeling the impact. Jiyoung Daniel, an associate professor of Korean, has noticed this increase with some of her classes. She says, “I have so many students even in my [KREN] 2001 and 2002 linked courses.” Daniel said the enrollment for this class usually caps out around 20 people, but 27 are enrolled this semester. The Korean language program has also had to add an additional elementary level class, and a new professor due to the increased demand.

Full parking at level four Walker Drive Deck. Photo by Ashley Brehm

Treva Smith, the director of residence life, said the campus housing is about 97% full. She said this has made Dahlonega feel a little tighter in terms of lines, housing and the amount of people on campus. Residence Life “works to flex with the demand of students.” This includes adding more civilian housing in places like Patriot Hall as on-campus accommodation demand goes up.

She has also seen issues with rental spaces across Dahlonega. Smith said, “More families are buying up rental property leaving students with less renting options.”

The number of non-cadet students living in on campus housing is around 2,086 while the total of on campus residents is 2,692.

Final enrollment numbers have not been publicly released yet, but are expected in mid-October.