Increase in crowds observed during first weeks of the semester 

Arianne Gonzalez, Arts & Culture Editor

Baruch College kicked off the fall 2022 semester with a shift to in-person learning, contributing to the largest crowds seen on-campus since the COVID-19 pandemic’s start in March 2020.

The school is currently offering 75% of classes in person. It also recently welcomed the largest batch of first-year students in Baruch’s history, with 2,600 freshman students.

“This Fall we welcome the largest freshman class Baruch has ever seen,” Jessica Lang, the dean of the Weissman School of Arts and Sciences, said in the school’s newsletter. “And while we are certainly still living with COVID-19, for the first time since March 2020 our campus feels full— bustling with activity, energy, and excitement. It is wonderful to be back.”

This semester also saw an additional 1,800 transfer students and 1,200 graduate students. According to Baruch President S. David Wu’s welcome message, this brings the student population total to about 20,000.

“Baruch’s unique value proposition of access, excellence, and outcomes clearly stands out in a challenging time for American higher education,” Wu said.

However, with the increase of students, many at Baruch expressed having a difficult time trying to get to classes or simply find a space to sit and study on campus.

“In my opinion, finding seating had always been a hassle for me and it’s been a complaint I’ve had since freshman year,” Emily Cabrera, a senior at Baruch, said in her response to a form shared by The Ticker.

Ryan Alwi, a junior who entered Baruch in fall of 2021, stated he had to sit on the floor for a virtual class due to the lack of seating.

“I checked multiple floors all the way up to the 12th – it was soo incredibly packed!” he said.

The renovations that began in May this year also exacerbated the lack of seating options for students as the cafeteria area on the first floor of the William and Anita Newman Vertical Campus remains closed.

Some students are facing difficulty trying to get to class on time because of the influx of students. Longer elevator lines at both the NVC and Lawrence and Eris Field Building have caused many to be late.

“I didn’t expect for there to be so many people waiting at elevators or for so many to be in or around new man corner,” Angelina Jackson, a freshman student, said. “My HS only had crowds the first day.”

Yhana Gomes said when she first transferred to the college, she was surprised at the number of students back on-campus as safety restrictions for the COVID-19 pandemic wanes.

“I think the crowd level is still pretty surprising today, I still get shocked of the amount of people that wait for the elevators!” she said in her response to the form. “Not to mention, the long lines that are in the Lawrence building in the afternoons, I’m always a few minutes [late] because of that.”

Gomes also called for ensuring that elevators are better maintained to ensure that students get to classes on time and decrease the crowding.

“Since my primary concern is the lack of accessible elevators or ways to get to my classrooms on time I think more escalators or elevators would help greatly especially with this increase,” she said.

Several Baruch community members have called for more seating areas, like adding more spaces to sit in hallways or opening up unused classrooms.

“Baruch should assess spacing and seating issues prior to the beginning of the year and modify campus resources in proportion to the additional students that will be coming back to campus,” Cabrera said.