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  • Darby Stevens

11 Accounts of Living On Campus

With thousands of students living on campus each year and a two-year residency requirement, hearing the experiences of our classmates living on campus is crucial to understanding our University’s standards for life and comfort. On the web page explaining the University of Toledo’s residency requirement, they list multiple statistically proven benefits to living on campus, including higher retention. At the bottom of the page is a link to more information about requesting an exemption from residency. According to the Office of the Treasurer’s website, the price for this year’s freshmen to live on campus for two semesters ranges from $13,562 to $15,466. This is about 79% of the out-of-state tuition rate for this freshman class, and about 144% of in-state tuition. For all this money, what are students saying about their experience living on campus?


I conducted two virtual interviews before creating an online survey to collect a wider array of responses. I sent my survey to over 200 students through my connections to student organizations. In total, I collected 11 responses from six dorms.


Laundry is among the most common concerns of the residents I spoke with. Residents of I-House, Parks Tower, and Ottawa House alike reported stinking, smoking, or leaking washers. Multiple residents said they had to put their clothes through the dryer several times before their items were sufficiently dry. Kylee Hill, a resident of I-House who had mostly pleasant things to say about living on campus, described how other residents are often the root of laundry troubles. She reported some people closing wet washers immediately after removing their laundry, allowing odor-causing microorganisms to grow in between uses. Others frequently leave behind their lint for residents like Kylee to clean. She made a point to note that concerns caused by the residents can also only be solved by the residents, stating that maintenance workers are “not our parents.”


The only complaint more common than laundry troubles was temperature regulation. Most residents complained of overheated rooms, reporting 80° heat and fixed windows, but an anonymous McComas Village resident said their room is “freezing” in the colder months of the year.


All students who attend in-person classes are familiar with remarkably warm classrooms as

the weather changes in the fall, but while non-residents leave campus and its unyielding heating and cooling system when class ends, residents are left to sleep in rooms that are reported to reach as high as 87°.


Broken laundry machines, out-of-order elevators, and noisy neighbors are fairly standard issues, but some interviewees also reported outstanding safety concerns. An anonymous Parks Tower resident reported a bat living in their ceiling for four days before it was removed by maintenance. After their roommate left the door unlocked to use the bathroom late at night, a stranger reportedly entered this resident’s room and tried to engage in casual conversation. An anonymous former resident of Honors Academic Village reports being stalked to their dorm. When the resident called the front desk to urge the removal of the alleged non-resident stalker, they were reportedly told to stop calling.


Within Presidents Hall, which is currently closed for renovations, there is a Gender-Inclusive Community that focuses on the safety and comfort of those traditionally outcast based on their gender, sex, or sexual orientation. Last year, the pride flags on display there were ripped down and replaced multiple times, and the Office of Residence Life is reported by multiple sources to have promised the community protective glass cases for their flags to avoid further incident. Now, the Gender-Inclusive Community is housed with the Arts Living Learning Community in Ottawa East, and the community still has not received glass cases. Seraph, a resident of the Gender-Inclusive Community for the last two years, felt unsafe on campus and applied for a residency exemption, but their application was reportedly denied. An anonymous resident of Ottawa reported that flyers posted by minority-centered organizations are still torn down frequently.


While these issues are serious and should not be ignored, living on campus isn’t all bad. Nine of the residents I interviewed said that their favorite thing about living on campus is improved social opportunity or proximity to campus. Residents from Tucker Hall and Ottawa House commented on how recurring events hosted by the residence halls have allowed for them to easily make and maintain friends. An anonymous Ottawa West resident said, “It is a unique opportunity for a certain type of friendship.” About half of my interviewees reported that staff and RAs in their dorms were helpful, or that issues were fixed in a timely manner.


At least one resident from I-House, Parks Tower, Ottawa House, Tucker Hall, and McComas Village said that their laundry machines have been fixed, replaced, or upgraded this year, and the McComas Village resident even reported that there was “no need” for the replacement. Many of these issues with living on campus are caused by other residents, such as leftover lint, closed washer doors, and rowdy freshmen in Parks, and are therefore not entirely resolvable by staff and management. On the other hand, many of these issues with living on campus are only resolvable by staff and management. Over the course of a week, I emailed the Office of Residence Life twice and, when met with no response, visited their office in person. They declined to comment on the living conditions my interviewees described. My emails were forwarded to their marketing department, and I hope to receive a response in the coming weeks.


References

The University of Toledo. (n.d.) Residency Requirement. Retrieved from https://www.utoledo.edu/studentaffairs/reslife/index/residencyrequirement.html. Accessed Nov 18, 2022.

The University of Toledo. (n.d.) 2022-23 Housing and Meal Plans. Retrieved from https://www.utoledo.edu/offices/treasurer/housingandmealplans/. Accessed Nov 18, 2022.

The University of Toledo. (n.d.) 2022-23 UNDERGRADUATE TUITION. Retrieved from https://www.utoledo.edu/offices/treasurer/tuition/undergraduate/. Accessed Nov 18, 2022.


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