Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) have battled with housing issues for students who require on-campus living for years. But now, schools are applying innovative methods to combat that crisis by expanding their housing options. Fisk University, an HBCU in Nashville, Tennessee, is starting the initiative by creating a small community of shipping containers that will house 98 students for the Fall 2023 semester.
The shipping containers will have blue and gold exteriors representing the university’s colors. It will also include private bathrooms, kitchenettes, and showers inside. Executive vice president of Fisk University Dr. Jens Frederiksen told NBC news in a statement that the project will cost up to $4 million dollars.
“This is a brilliant and innovative solution that works for us. Enrollment is growing fast, and shipping containers provide sustainable flexibility. We have four current residence halls, but they are aging dormitories. So I think the containers will serve as a sustainable solution for the foreseeable future,” Frederiksen shared.
As HBCU enrollment numbers rise, universities are having trouble accommodating housing because they need more room, according to a report. Because of the influx, students may experience poor living conditions, and may not have access to off-campus housing. According to the school’s website, Morehouse College saw a 70 percent increase in new students compared to their previous school year, with residential student applications increasing by 17 percent between 2020 and 2021. According to the school’s website, even smaller HBCUs like Cheyney University saw a 50 percent increase in enrollment from 2018 to 2022.