With students currently in the midst of reapplying for space in the residence halls, housing at the University is a problem that continues to get worse with each passing year. Students are compelled to sign leases in the fall and pay exorbitant rent. But living in the residence halls provides little respite from the housing woes. The University residence halls are inadequate.

The University has dragged its feet in constructing the much need new residence hall. Much attention and funding has been diverted in recent years to corporate consulting firms with little or any improvement in living conditions with the exception of new fire safety systems.

Unfortunately, the University has not been as reactive to other problems with residence halls. Corporate consultants are hired for many issues regarding the residence halls. The University spends exorbitant amounts of money paying professionals to tell them how to improve the residence halls when the University’s greatest resource of information – the students – is ignored. The University does not need to spend money to get opinions of students. Much of what the consultants do can be done in house at little or no cost, providing the most accurate information.

Likewise, the University is using a consulting firm to decide what kind of residence hall it should build. While it positive that the University has finally taken steps to begin the process of building a residence hall, it has taken far too long for this much needed hall to be built. Traditional double room residence halls with communal bathrooms are becoming obsolete according to a recent New York Times article. College students today want single rooms or suites with private amenities.

This analysis of students may be a bit exaggerated; it is a true observation that students want different types of living situations. It is not unreasonable to expect the new residence hall to be wired to support computers and microwaves. It would be better to build more outlets that can handle high voltage equipment instead of students have to rely on power strips that ultimately overload the fuses and can be a potential fire hazard. Additionally, constructing a new residence hall that offers different amenities and living situations than current ones will offer more diversity of choice to students. Diversity of housing options will appeal to prospective students. And by building the new residence hall on North Campus, more students may be drawn up there instead of looking at the area as a second-rate and inferior part of the University.

The University cannot continue to neglect the housing problems on campus. Enough time and money have been wasted on consulting firms. The University must solidify plans to build the much needed new residence hall.

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