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Dorm Room Dreaming
Rogelio Rodriguez

Recently, rumors have begun to surface about possible changes in residence life here at Mount Mary College. All the talk about residence hall changes has students dreaming about how residence life might improve.  Interviews with students demonstrate that students are certainly curious about possible improvements.  They also have some ideas of their own about how to improve residence life. They want to know why there is a 5% increase in room and board rates next year? Renovations are planned during the summer but will the planned modifications resemble student dreams?

How many times have you imagined your ideal dorm room? What all is in it? The list might include things like your own bathroom, king-sized beds, a small kitchen, personal maid service, lots of self-space, walk-in closet, and lots of room for activities, right? Amongst these possible ideas, the students of Mount Marty College were quick to agree that we are due for some renovations in the residence halls. Student suggestions varied in two directions; one side dreamed of simple things like free toilet paper for Corbey Hall, while others wanted to completely rebuild both housing facilities. These responses raise a very important question, what do we ABSOLUTELY need to change in order to make life better in the residence halls? That question inspired an informal study; thirty to forty students offered their opinions on what they would like to improve in residence life. Most people would agree that the heating and cooling systems should be fixed to work appropriately and not at the two settings of Antarctica and the Sahara Desert. Air conditioning was the main complaint of the Bede Hall residents during the fall semester of 2013. The main complaint for Whitbey and Corbey residents was the need for more room with an emphasis on the lack of space provided for the women.  Not only did students have opinions on the dorm rooms, they also voiced their opinions on the rules. One rule addressed was mixed-gender visitation; students want more areas that allow round-the-clock visitation. This idea seems simple enough but would require the addition of new lounges or other open areas. One student in particular, Joshua Driver, said he would be fine with all the things wrong with the dorms if Mount Marty lifted its alcohol policy. Sorry Josh, but unfortunately that is something that won’t be changing any time soon. However, your honesty is appreciated. If these things won’t be happening then what can students expect to see changed in the fall? Well, our very own Director of Residence Life, Sonja Olson, shared some of the renovations planned over the summer break.

Lofts for Men's residence halls

New lofts for mens dorms

As most of you have probably already heard, next semester the school will be providing students with their own lofts. These lofts are made of metal and are much thinner than what most of the women use now. With these new lofts the residents of Corbey will now be able to fully open their cabinet doors without obstructions. Along with the new lofts there are a few things that will be available to students next semester. Summer plans also include an overhaul of the heating and cooling systems. In addition to renovations we will also have the option to rent or buy refrigerators or micro-fridges. What is a micro-fridge you may be wondering? It is a combination appliance that uses one circuit to run both a refrigerator and a microwave.

Microfridge

Microfridge

 
When the microwave is in use the refrigerator is temporarily shut off. That means no more late night walks down the creepy, supposedly haunted, dormitory halls to the lounge in order to use the microwave. This also means we don’t have to hide our contraband microwaves anymore; yes, Sonja knows we have them. Other things that can be bought are futons, personal safes, and logo rugs. These things will all be available to students next fall for their dorm rooms, but what else is going to be happening next fall?

In each building we have a lounge, and in those lounges we have things that make college a little more livable. A few things in the lounges have changed in the past year. Corbey’s main lounge, on first floor, received a new pool table and Dr. Benoit donated the TV that is now proudly mounted on the wall. Along with that every floor received new DVD players; remember how tedious it used to be trying to watch a movie anywhere in Corbey? Over the summer, Whitbey and Bede also received some renovations. Whitbey Lounge was outfitted with new carpet and a new kitchen. Residents will remember the big screen TV that was broken last year. Well, that is now fixed and will make a grand reappearance soon. For those who didn’t know, Bede hall now has a large lounge on fourth floor. It is furnished with comfortable couches and a small kitchen, which will soon be refurbished. Of course this lounge has a large screen TV that will be mounted on the wall sometime this summer. In the near future, Sonja and her staff plan to purchase more couches and other furnishings for the lounges in order to create a more home-like feel. While all of this sounds fine and dandy for those who use the lounges, some of you may be wondering what else will improve with the 5% increase in room and board. Already underway is the replacement of ceiling tiles in Corbey, this project is scheduled to be finished over the summer. Other things that will be happening in Corbey over the summer is the repair of bathroom vents along with the replacement of worn out window blinds. The hallways will also receive a new coat of paint. Something that will change in both men’s and women’s dorms is the replacement of the ancient washers and dryers. These dinosaurs will be replaced with front-loading appliances that have the ability to text you when your load is done. However, this is still in the works and may not be happening this fall but watch for it in the near future. Another change that could happen is the relocation of some female students in one hallway of Bede Hall. These would be upper classmen who have requested a single room. This would only happen if there are insufficient single rooms in Corbey to meet demands. To live in Bede has always been considered a privilege that was, until now, reserved for men.

All of the renovations that are happening may not be what everyone wants or agrees with, but these are the things that are in the budget plans for Mount Marty College. When comparing our room and board rates to any other school in the GPAC we have the lowest; not bad for an “expensive private school”, huh? Even after the 5% increase we will be the third lowest in terms of room and board rates. For those of you who are complaining about how much we have to pay and how little we have, just remember that we are a private college and get very little, if any, federal money to run the school. Think about that the next time your living conditions make you want to scream. Sonja and her staff are working exceptionally hard to make Mount Marty College the best that it can be but that will require some time and, of course, money