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Students need more living options

Housing selection: a simultaneously terrifying and exciting time of year that leaves students frantically surveying campus and weighing the benefits of far-away, but upscale Gault Schoolhouse, to convenient, but depressing Holden. When my roommate and I discovered that our housing selection was in the early 60s, we were ecstatic. Unlike last year, we had the chance to score a nice dorm that wasn’t tucked away in a dark basement hallway. Even better was my close friend, Cormac, who was blessed with a single digit number. We poured over the possibilities — as rising juniors, there was no way we wouldn’t be able to get a nice placement.

As I’m sure you can guess, those predictions went by the wayside the second we stepped foot in Compton Basement. Despite the early time frame, we saw seemingly no options for housing. Brush was gone; Gault Manor was gone; Luce was gone; Stevenson was gone. Standing in line for the selection itself, the list of dorms that were no longer available was far longer than the list of buildings that actually were.

The frustration doesn’t come from the fact that we, like most people, were unable to obtain a spot in the ivory tower of Brush Hall. It comes from the fact that as rising juniors with really good numbers, we were not afforded much choice. In the waiting room, I heard a group of girls discussing the room I currently live in. The consensus was that, while it wasn’t necessarily their first choice, it would have to do. My double has one closet with a noticeable slant in the floor level that everyone, upon first seeing, comments on. We have two humidifiers provided by Res Life in the hallway because of how damp the space is. Our room is filled with lamps and twinkling lights not for the aesthetic purpose of it — though Nashmia did do a great job in picking light fixtures — but because we need them in order to function at night.

Every year, students outraged at the standard of dorm living fight against Res Life for more flexibility. The unfortunate fact of the matter is that The College of Wooster does not have the space for the number of students it is trying to accommodate. As the incoming first-year class arrive on campus, this means more students are required to live on campus for all four years. When first years are being thrown in houses and random upperclass student halls, you undermine the point of first year housing — to provide new students with a support system going through the same struggles they are. Meanwhile, older students are left feeling like the College does not understand or care about their frustration, leaving students disillusioned, feeling like they’ve been scammed out of hundreds of thousands of dollars at an institution that doesn’t listen to them.

This is not a hit at Res Life; I am not coming after Nathan Fein or Carly Jones. But as the campus undergoes seemingly constant renovations and buildings being taken offline, administration must be held to the same standard as students. Stop requiring students to live on campus all four years and start recognizing that sometimes, finding a home off campus is sometimes a lot easier, a lot more convenient and a lot more in tune with people’s needs. The College of Wooster is in the process of becoming a more updated and modern campus, and future students will no doubt appreciate that these renovations happened before their arrival. In the meantime, listen to the students already on campus and take a look at the housing selection process.

Emilee McCubbins, a Contributing Writer for the Voice, can be reached for comment at EMcCubbins20@wooster.edu.

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