Imagine waking up to the sound of your roommate puking one
winter morning. A rampant stomach flu outbreak was just one factor
that made Mary Markley Residence Hall the worst dorm to live in on
campus this year.
The stomach flu, which spread to other dormitories, started in
Markley in early February. By the end of the week, 43 cases were
reported in Markley, making it feel like the walls were crawling
with germs. Cafeteria procedures were altered and hand sanitizer
became plentiful. Fourth-floor freshman resident Sarah Stedman
recalled, “I was constantly peering around corners, keeping
my eyes peeled for the little monkey that caused the Markley
outbreak.” Mary Markley was far from the happiest place on
Less than a month after the flu outbreak, another annoyance
struck the Markley residents: construction. The demolition of one
of the public health buildings next to Markley started during
Spring Break and is not scheduled for completion until February
2005. Waking up to cranes at 7 a.m. is not a pleasant way to start
the day. Not to mention, the daily trek to classes has changed.
Washington Heights has been shut off to all traffic, including
pedestrians. Students must either walk through the existing Public
Health Building to Observatory Street or walk up East Medical Drive
all the way around the Markley building. Fifth-floor freshman
resident Mike Cook complains, “It really sucks waiting for
someone to open the door to the Public Health Building after 6
o’clock p.m. in order to get anywhere.” As if the walk
to the Hill area wasn’t far enough.
Unlike the flu or construction, one factor of Markley that has
not changed is the room sizes. The standard double room where most
freshmen live is 11 feet by 12 feet. It is bad enough being in a
strange place, sometimes with a strange roommate, but compressing
all the belongings of two people in a space no larger than a normal
bedroom can be challenging.
The most obvious reason for bitter hatred toward Markley is the
distance between classes, shops and college civilization from the
dorm. Especially during blizzards and below-freezing temperatures,
being on the Hill, Markley residents are hit hard. North Campus
residents have the bus to chauffeur them to class and weekend
activities and Central Campus residents have a brisk five-minute
walk, but Markley and other Hill residents have it the worst with
at least a 12 minute walk to Central Campus.
When isolated, undersized living spaces become bacteria-infested
and noisy, the result is the Mary Markley dormitory of the
2003-2004 year. Better luck next year, Markley.