Page 13 Cartoons

Gtown housing: the bad, the really bad, and the worst

April 16, 2009

The handle turned, but the door to my Henle smaller-than-a-walk-in-closet single wouldn’t budge. So, trapped in my tiny room, I banged on the door for help. Luckily, two of my roommates were home, but their efforts to free me bore no fruit.
“Uh, the delivery guy is waiting for me outside and the food is already paid for. Would you mind running out to grab it for me?” I asked one of them, somewhat pathetically.
My roommate graciously agreed to collect my take-out. Fortunately, I had ordered sushi, which fit under the large gap beneath my door. She also poured my bubble tea into two little bowls and pushed those through the gap, as well.
Managing to contact Facilities on that late Sunday evening was a minor miracle, and several transfers later, the maintenance man was on his way. I assumed getting locked in one’s room is a rare occurrence. The worker, however, explained that he had fixed numerous lock-ins, and that they were particularly common in Henle.
For the next 90 minutes, the maintenance worker came and went several times; he was also working to free several people stuck in an elevator in another building. Fancy that.
On a lazy Sunday night, my door debacle was funny more than anything, but I couldn’t help but wonder: what if I had been locked in my room right before an exam? Or even worse, during a fire?
The lock-in is the most dramatic thing that has ever happened to me in campus housing, but certainly not the most annoying. During my sophomore year stint in LXR, the air conditioning unit reeked of mold, posing a clear health hazard. For several weeks in winter, there was no hot water. Rumor has it that the funds for repairing the water heater had been exhausted for the semester. But enough parents complained, and suddenly my showers were hotter than ever. One night this semester I came home late to find that the locks to my apartment had been changed without prior notice. One of my roommates had moved out weeks earlier, but her unreturned key must have posed so great a security threat that the locks were changed a month later.
Beyond the hassles of living in campus housing, just getting a room can be a huge headache. After several groups looking for off-campus housing fell apart, a good friend and I hatched a plan to get a fourth year of housing. As rising seniors, we signed up for eligibility with two rising juniors, one of whom planned to live off-campus. With 3.5 points, we were granted eligibility. We ended up living in different apartments, but at least we had housing.
Ordinarily, I would feel a little guilty about gaming the system, but in this case I had no remorse. The fruitless search for off-campus housing yielded only tears and fights. I was getting ready to study abroad for the spring, and even by October I felt crunched for time to find a decent place to live. More importantly, the first and last month’s rent requested by the landlords almost a year an advance were out of my financial reach. As a student on significant financial aid, I would have been forced to take out a loan to cover that cost so far in advance.
For me, the inordinate difficulty of obtaining affordable housing as an upperclassmen and lackluster facilities we must endure if we’re lucky enough to get campus housing fly in the face of Georgetown’s commitment to cura personalis. I sincerely hope that the University will address the issues that I have mentioned; to that end, I offer the following suggestions.
First, the Housing and Facilities Offices need to be better coordinated. At the start of each school year, students should find their rooms clean and without safety issues, and the Housing Office should help ensure that service requests are dealt with promptly.
Second, the University should reconsider the system used for eligibility. For juniors and seniors, priority for on-campus housing should go to the students with the greatest financial need.
Finally, the upper-class housing lottery should be pushed back to the spring semester. Since the University can’t provide enough housing for all four years, it at least needs to safeguard the interests of students as they seek off-campus housing in this expensive area. Pushing back the housing draw would allow students to take more time to solidify their housing groups and push back the date by which students have to put down deposits.
Next year, I will put my housing woes behind me when I return home to Arizona. While I am enjoying my 60-degree winter, I hope that all of my peers who are still here at least have heat and hot showers.

Read More

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments