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Realities of on-campus living: Trials and tribulations faced by students

by The Stylus Staff
Tue, Oct 3rd 2017 09:05 pm

Walking through The College at Brockport campus, students cannot help but notice all of the construction taking place to revamp the school. Between the re-paved pathways of the Union Mall, the structural updates to the Albert Brown building and the ongoing construction of the soon-to-be dorm building, there is definitely an air of progress blowing through Brockport. 

All the work being done can make students feel good about the initiative being put into the living conditions on-campus, that is, until they return back to their dorm rooms. Anyone living on-campus can relate: you walk into your building and, if it’s a high rise like Bramley Hall, you may find there are some issues with the elevator. Perhaps you live in the freshman or transfer student dorms, so you don’t have an elevator and you walk upstairs to your dorm. You walk into your 80s styled living room and squeeze your way into your tiny cramped bedroom. 

If it’s a warm day, like we have been having the past couple of weeks, you may find yourself sweating from the effort of even getting to your desk. If it’s a cooler day, like the days we will be experiencing in the near future, you may be shivering from the chill. Either way, the chances of feeling one extreme or the other is pretty much inevitable for the average college student. 

This is because most residence halls were built several decades ago. Buildings such as freshman dorm building MacVicar Hall, were built in the 1960s. Obviously, both regulation and living experiences were diffrerent then. The kinds of available materials, architecture and design expectations varied from what is expected today.

However, these same buildings continue to house students to this very day. Yet, they have not been updated since they were built.

That’s not to say there has not been any renovations to the residence halls. There have been updates to carpeting, some furniture and even bathroom updates like those in Bramley. 

We certainly aren’t trying to disregard the efforts that have been implemented throughout the existing residence halls across campus. However, we at The Stylus can’t help but wonder if there isn’t a little bit more that can be done. For instance, some attempt at regulating the temperatures in the dorms so students won’t struggle so severely if temperature rise or fall anywhere above or below 50 degrees fahrenheit, or working to update infrastructure so there aren’t such frequent power outages taking place. 

Most students atttending Brockport have lived on campus for at least a semester, therefore, the issue of necessary heat regulation is one felt across the entire campus population. Except for those living in the recently-built Thompson Hall, students are exposed to the struggle of dealing with either extreme heat or cold from freshman year. Lacking any form of either air conditioning or fans, each bedroom is left to be regulated by students so far as room temperature is concerned. 

We will note that it is typically recommended for incoming students to bring a fan when coming to live on campus. However, not every student has the financial means to add such a luxury to the already costly list of necessary materials needed for college living. It also seems quite unfair to expect students to pay the same amount of money for room and board, yet not receive the same kind of amenities across campus. It seems more than unfair that students lucky enough to be placed in a temperature regulated building such as Thompson should have a better college experience their freshman year than most other students, and those who lack the luxury of air conditioning are obligated to pay the same cost.

This situation also sheds light on the fact that students who are lucky enough to live in Thompson for their first year are getting a somewhat false impression of what it is actually like to live in a dorm on-campus, solely because no other residence hall on campus gives students access to air conditioning during warmer weather. Therefore, students who lived in Thompson their first year face a very harsh reality upon moving into upperclassmen suites, which lack the amenity they had probably assumed was widespread.

While lack of air conditioning is definitely an issue, especially for the past few weeks, lack of regulated heat during winter months is also a prevalent situation. We are quickly approaching the snowy time of year, which is never lax in Brockport. With temperatures that easily fall below zero degrees fahrenheit, heat becomes more than an amenity — it is a necessity. There have been instances when flyers warning about the possibility and symptoms of frostbite were frequent around campus, warning students to be safe and stay as warm as possible. However, that can be quite difficult if a room completely lacks or does not offer sufficient heating. Under these sorts of circumstances, there’s not much for students to do. Portable heating devices are not allowed in dorms and can even be a violation to the college’s regulation regarding on-campus living. So what are students to do, sleep in their winter gear?

For the majority of the on-campus student population, the lack of air conditioning or heat in certain occasions is merely part of the ongoing list of issues they deal with while living in the residence halls. Students also deal with lack of personal space. 

Again, we understand that there are thousands of students housed on campus, obviously each student can’t have their own suite; that’s just an unrealistic standard and certainly not something we are expecting. However, we do pay for our living, several thousand dollars per semester, so perhaps it’s not too out of the field of expectancy to suggest that we should at least get a bit more bang for our buck.

Running a college campus is definitely not an easy task, especially when there are as many students residing on campus as there are at Brockport. However, perhaps we can bring a little of the progress we’re seeing outside into the dorms that exist, to the ones we have already been paying thousands of dollars for.

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