The student residential experience in disrepair

admin

The football team was gifted a newly renovated locker room this year complete with new lockers, nine new televisions and a brand new sound system.

While this is all great news for the football team and Shirk center in general, how does this impact the rest of campus?

Facilities are aging faster than they can be repaired, but no larger scale changes seem to be done to improve some of the highly utilized student spaces on campus.

The biggest area of neglect lies in our residence halls which are severely outdated.

As first-years come into their halls, the expectation among most universities is a small narrow dorm room with comfortable lounges to encourage community.

But moving into the second year, most universities such as Augustana and Bradley significantly uplift their community spaces and student rooms.

Out of IWU’s four upper division residence hall options, only Harriet hall has all of the modern accommodations you would expect in a standard residence hall.

Over the summer, IWU completed construction on Magill Hall bathrooms intending to clean them up and improve the general space.

This was not fully accomplished and instead only the curtains and flooring were replaced.

The only two shower stalls for a floor of 30 residents are not size or height inclusive.

Focusing on the common areas, the lounge in the building is hardly conducive to informal entertainment as it’s crowded with questionably stained furniture, too many high top tables and a box television.

While Bradley University has physical lounge spaces that resemble our own, they have coordinating furniture and multiple flat screen TVs which allow students to connect gaming systems, laptops and a variety of other appliances.

This small feature which unites students via entertainment is missing at our university or in need of repair.

Dolan Hall might be the next option for upper division housing, but the issues of pest control and a lack of a kitchen deter students.

The so-called “kitchen” in Dolan Hall includes a non-functioning ice machine, a vending machine and a fridge.

Every other hall, fraternity and sorority on campus has access to a kitchen and a stove leaving Dolan behind the others in terms of usable community spaces.

Food bonds people through different cultures and shared experiences, but when a hall lacks a basic space to cook in, you lose that opportunity. 

The issues with these halls wouldn’t be as large of an issue if students weren’t required to fulfill a six semester requirement of living on campus.

Students either have to live in residence halls or to try to apply to live in the Gates or East Street Apartments where students compete with seniors who opt to live on campus.

From outdated spaces in first year halls with curtains torn off the walls, microwaves missing from lounges and inadequately cleaned restrooms, there is a need to improve these spaces or reassess the housing requirement.

When students don’t have access to comfortable and functional spaces to use, why is the university building new football locker rooms, a sound stage in Ames and what feels like other illogical expenditures?

IWU isn’t failing on all counts, a priority needs to be placed on repairing residence halls and improving student common areas.Or IWU needs to reconsider the housing rule.