“We pay $2,300 to be here, and this is not how we’re supposed to be living,” said Ryan Miller, a sophomore mechanical engineering major. “It’s sad really.”
Miller lives in Lovelace Hall, one of the oldest buildings on campus, and it shows. The banisters on the stairs are coming out of the wall, bringing fragments of foundation with them. The plastic trim across the floor is torn away, revealing cracks and holes. It isn’t a huge problem in and of itself, but after a year living there, it’s grating.
“In the beginning, we were okay with all of it,” said Iván González-Giménez, the Singles Complex, College Hall and Student Apartment Complex senator and a resident of Lovelace. “But, over time, we’ve gotten really sick of it.”
Along with the general problems in the common areas, stairwells and hallways, most of the real problems are in the rooms. Many of the ceilings are sinking, and mold is in several of them. Along with old, degraded furniture and mattresses, some residents view the problems as unacceptable.
“It almost makes me want to go to [President Joanne] Glasser’s office during the open office hours,” Miller said. “If tomorrow someone’s ceiling falls on them, someone’s going to need to be held responsible.”
At this point, Lovelace residents view repairing the building as an un-winnable fight.
“I usually try to be calm,” González-Giménez said of his attempts to try to repair the building in the senate. “If you go crazy and start screaming, you’re not going to get anything done. I had to work for months, and just barely got a vacuum cleaner for the three singles buildings, and I kept going after that for recycling bins, but that’ll never happen. How can we hope to have anything else?”
Although González-Giménez has done some work to try to improve the building in Senate, he hasn’t talked to anyone in the housing department about the problems.
“Frankly, some of the problems come down to the residents,” Executive Director Residential Living and Leadership Nathan Thomas said. “There’s holes in the walls that are from the people living there or their friends. There’s nothing we can do about that.”
One of the biggest concerns of the Lovelace residents is how buildings like Geisert and Wendle are receiving renovations or have been receiving updates.
“I’m sick of the hypocrisy,” González-Giménez said. “Wendle is gift-wrapped. It looks nice enough when parents come, but that’s it.”
Thomas says the updates to Wendle were a result of the H1N1 outbreak on campus last year.
“We had to make quarantine floors and then completely redo the building over the course of the year,” Thomas said. “At the time, it was the building that needed the most work. There’s plans to figure out what buildings are going to be worked on over the summer, and we realize that those buildings are part of residential housing and they are part of the campus.”
Ultimately, González-Giménez just wants the problems with Lovelace fixed for the future.
“Most of us aren’t going to be living here next year,” he said. “We just want it to be fixed for the next residents.”
Click on the photo to see more images of Lovelace.
All photos by Ben Henry