Campus housing conditions

Regardless of age or grade, students living on campus are part of a growing community that seeks to improve itself.

Though the beauty of a like-minded, ever-evolving community is easy to recognize, it is not without its faults. Housing a large number of students in one area of a city is difficult to do, regardless of the institution that is housing them. Here at VWU, students experience many issues with housing and maintenance of buildings on campus.

The wet climate, constant occupancy and increasing demand for living spaces is causing students to experience problems with faulty equipment, broken appliances, and most strikingly, mold. Senior Steve Roberts, and Junior Tyler Conn found mold in their Teagle suite upon moving into their rooms. Turns out they aren’t the only ones.

“When I talk to people, there’s usually at least one thing wrong,” said Spencer Valenti, an RA in Brock Village. These problems can range from small pests such as cockroaches and spiders, to mold being found in students’ living spaces. Upon hearing a complaint from a resident, an RA’s job is to fill out and turn in a form detailing the issue. These forms are then turned in as a request for maintenance to fix the problem.

However, some of these problems have not yet been fixed. Village Coordinators and Residence Life directors have advised Resident Advisors to continue to fill out and submit their forms when needed, and to resubmit the forms that have not yet been addressed. When asked about the response time, Valenti seemed optimistic, saying that “most of the more serious complaints, such as mold have been addressed, or are being addressed by maintenance.”

In Villages I and II, students say they’ve experienced a buildup of condensation on the tile flooring. “I felt puddles, and condensation under my desk,” freshman Trevor Lalande said. This could come from a problem of lack of central air conditioning in the older buildings on campus.

Many students have similar problems with their rooms, but not all of them are reporting their complaints. After speaking to a small group of freshmen, it seemed that they all agreed on a few issues that plague their dorm, but when asked if these problems had been addressed, these students didn’t seem to know where to start.   

First year student Nick Barnas said he had “no complaints really,” and seemed surprised when other students spoke about the issues in their rooms.

Junior Tyler Conn added, “I’m not too picky about stuff like that, it bothered me when I first saw it, but it’s not something I think about very often. I mostly just want to be around people who are positive.”

These problems are not limited to students living on campus. Many students are housed in nearby hotels to help prevent overcrowding on campus. Students housed in the hotel are often overcrowded, and left to rely on an inconvenient carpooling system. Shuttles are provided for students, but they are only available every hour.

“If I take the ride that the school provides, I am usually at least an hour early for my classes,” said junior transfer Kyle Leeming. Though being early for a class is not negative, students living in the hotel should not be left to worry about whether or not they will be able to make it to a class that they’ve already paid for. With that being said, the hotels that the University provides its students are merely a mile from campus.

Comfort is a state of mind for some students, and not everyone has bad things to say about their living spaces. Indeed, students are in charge of the places they live. It is not a maintenance worker’s job to fix a problem that they haven’t heard about. Perhaps the issues with room maintenance would be better fixed if students took more of an initiative to report these problems in detail, and demand to be heard by those responsible for keeping them both comfortable and safe.

Joshua Davis