Overpopulation: a memoir Wil Niesen, Keeley Meetze, Henry Beatty & Greg Soucy

In one of the worst examples of modern university overcrowding, Germany’s universities were at 170% capacity with only one professor to every 60 students. Lecture halls would often be overfilled by one hundred students or more, leading professors to kick out students in their first semesters.

School overcrowding is empirically measured in the proportion of student population to the capacity of the facilities of the school. One common oversight in the determination of capacity is counting total capacity, in that some capacity may be labs, for certain majors, or located far outside the main areas of campus.

“A practice known as ‘crashing courses,’ in which students enroll in closed courses after registration has ended or enrolls in an already full course, has developed at several college campuses because of overcrowding.”

This sounds remarkably similar to the overfilled waitlists of Clemson University, as students enroll in the hopes that another student will either be dropped or have to drop the course. More adjunct (part-time) professors are needed to fill the gaps that ordinary faculty can’t cover, however, this often means less funding for hiring full-time faculty.


One of the most common grievances that you hear from Clemson students is about the lack of parking offered by the university.

“Students have protested the amount of parking permits sold, saying that amount of permits sold far outweighs the amount of spaces.” (Schwarze) But According to Dan Hofmann, Director of Parking and Transportation Services, “We have a limited parking supply…[but] we do have enough parking.” (Schwarze)

If this is the case where are all the open spots? Even Hofmann has to admit that there simply aren’t enough spots to go around. “This year, the space to permit ratio for residents is 3,316 spaces to 3,579 resident permits. For commuters, the ratio is 5,110 spaces to 9,508 commuter permits according to [data collected by Clemson Parking and Transportation Services].” (Schwarze) Rising student populations have put pressure on the already limited parking situation.

Clearly Clemson lacks sufficient parking but the cost of new parking spots is astronomical, with a regular parking space costing around $2,000 and garage spaces up $15,000. Across the nation this is leading to new, innovative approaches to parking. Many institutions are “ramping up programs that encourage students and faculty to bike or ride public transportation to campus and providing carpool incentives and shuttle services to rail lines.” (Rivera)

One promising idea that is being put in place here at Clemson is a license plate permit system. “A basic camera grabs an image of the license plate, feeds it into the system, and matches it with the parker’s account.” (Fliegler) The technology, developed by T2 systems, is helping to make the enforcement system more efficient by essentially turning a student’s license plate into their permit. Now parking enforcement can quickly scan plates and automatically send out citations. This may be bad for staff and students who park illegally, but in the long run parking will benefit from the data that is being collected from the system. It is innovations like these that will bring parking out of the dark ages and into the modern day.

As Clemson’s student population grows parking innovations will help reduce the stress of parking, but more spaces will eventually be needed if the university continues to grow at such a staggering rate.


College comes with a heavier workload and with that, more studying. Studying is hard in itself. It is hard to find motivation and even harder to stay on track. According to a blog post from Western Governors University, Feng shui has a lot to do with how productive your study time will be.

Merriam-Webster defines Feng shui as “a Chinese geomantic practice in which a structure or site is chosen or configured so as to harmonize with the spiritual forces that inhabit it.” Put into layman’s terms, organizing and placing objects in the room to create the highest spiritual energy, thus making the environment of the room as effective and productive as possible.

In a crowded area, the Feng shui is completely thrown off. In order to study successfully and to the best of your ability, you need to be relaxed and ready. When there are no empty tables and every seat in the room is filled, there is no way to truly be relaxed and ready. There are too many distractions. This is how Cooper Library is during finals week. How does Clemson expect their students to succeed and access their true workability when there is nowhere for that potential to fully develop and grow?


With the traumatic experience of registering for classes fresh on our minds, let me remind you that this problem is caused largely by.. overpopulation.

The amount of available seats in most classes have not changed in over ten years. In those ten years, Clemson undergraduate enrollment has increased from 14,200 students to over 18,000 (James 2017). With another national championship under our belt and the new bridge program beginning to gain traction, this issue is expected to become more severe in the coming semesters.

A potential solution to this problem would be to either decrease Clemson's acceptance rate, or open more space for classrooms to accommodate the growing population on campus. This proposed motion to open more space on campus is well underway, with plans of eliminating the shoeboxes, Johnstone and the power plant on campus to provide more functional space for academic buildings.

Registering for classes is a lot like a race.. an unfair, abhorrent race.

Clemson is a beautiful place filled with beautiful people like yourselves.. arguably too many beautiful people. We hope that through this presentation you have gathered that Clemson's overpopulation problem is real, but something that can be effectively dealt with.

Go Tigz & good night

Works Cited

James, Nancy. "Historical Enrollment 1893 to Present." Clemson University. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Apr. 2017.

Schuetze, Christopher F. “Too Many Students and Not Enough Chairs in Germany’s Universities.” The New York Times, 15 May 2011, http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/16/world/europe/16iht-educside16.html. Accessed 3 Apr 2017.

Ready, Douglas, Valerie Lee, and Kevin G. Welner. "Educational equity and school structure: School size, overcrowding, and schools-within-schools." (2004). http://nepc.colorado.edu/files/1882.pdf

“Overcrowding in America’s Colleges and Uniersities.” OnlineUniversities. (2013). http://www.onlineuniversities.com/blog/2013/05/overcrowding-in-americas-colleges-and-universities/

Frey, Bruno S., and Reto Jegen. "Motivation crowding theory." Journal of economic surveys 15.5 (2001): 589-611. https://www.econstor.eu/bitstream/10419/75604/1/cesifo_wp245.pdf

Burr, David W. "Is University Parking a Common Grievance?" Parking Today. Parking Today Media, Sept. 2011. Web. 24 Apr. 2017.

Rivera, Carla. "College Campuses Are Working to Lessen Parking Pains." Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times, 13 Dec. 2015. Web. 24 Apr. 2017.

Fliegler, Caryn Meyers. "Park This Way: Colleges Find High-tech Solutions." University Business Magazine. Professional Media Group, 22 Oct. 2013. Web. 24 Apr. 2017

Editor, Tessa Schwarze News. "Parking Wars: A Game No One Wins." The Tiger. N.p., 29 Nov. 2016. Web. 24 Apr. 2017.

"11 Ways Your Study Environment Affects Productivity (And How You Can Improve It)." Western Governors University. Western Governors University- WGU, 26 July 2012. Web. 24 Apr. 2017.

Webster, Noah. "Feng Shui." New Collegiate Dictionary. A Merriam-Webster. Springfield, MA: G. & C. Merriam, 1963. Print.


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