Quality of dorm life does not accurately reflect TCU experience

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    Would I pay less for a larger dorm room with most of the same amenities? Of course I would.I would love the opportunity to live in a lounge, like some students are doing now.

    I could make do without a Micro-Fridge or sink if that’s what it takes to save $500 in student loans. If I lived in a Brachman Hall lounge, I’d have a full-size refrigerator and kitchen. If students aren’t allowed to have hot plates and toasters, however, I imagine an oven would make room inspections difficult.

    Lounge living sounds like a fairly pleasant position, despite the inconvenience of being wait-listed for dorms and the possibility of having to move partway into the semester. But what the heck, I had to move three weeks into the semester freshman year during dorm consolidation.

    The people I am concerned about are the regular students living in their expensive dorm rooms, and, in some cases, paying $500 more for a much smaller room. A friend of mine was in this situation for a few weeks in fall 2003. She lived in one of the tiny dorm rooms in Moncrief Hall, where she barely had room for a bed and desk, much less a table large enough for her interior design projects. Luckily, she lived next to the substantial Moncrief lounge. But with students living in the lounge, she was no longer in a position to work on projects at home.

    Lounge rooms exist for a reason. In an otherwise cramped living space, students have the opportunity to get away from their roommate’s television or phone call – or the roommate. They use lounges for homework, socialization and cooking.

    Lounge kitchens are often the only places available for a student in a dorm to cook. They are an excellent area for wing socials or a large group of friends. Without these lounges, students are losing an important part of their dorm life. If lounge living is to continue, everyone in dorms who forfeits his or her lounge deserves a price break, even though Residential Services claims it is only temporary.

    Dorms are an important part of campus life. Not only are they a revenue generator, but they create more successful students. Failure to make social connections is one of the largest factors in student transfers. Dorms provide a community for students, as well as leadership positions in the Residential Hall Association and as resident assistants, allowing them to plug in socially.

    I suggest that in order to solve this lounge situation, TCU temporarily waive the rule requiring freshmen to live on campus if they do not live at home. This would alleviate overcrowding in dorms because many freshmen would choose to move off campus, especially in light of the current lounge situation. RAs would be given back their individual rooms, which they deserve, and which are necessary for confidentiality of student concerns.

    Most freshmen would continue living on campus even with the rule waived. The school would not lose a significant amount of money, and TCU could reintroduce the rule once more dorm space becomes available. Meanwhile, the rule would remain on the books, so students would understand that this measure is temporary and could do no more than grumble once it is reinstated.

    New residence halls will not be available in enough time for current students to see the difference. In most cases, four years is too short a time to see substantial change in a university.

    The new building on Berry Street will not be ready until next fall at the earliest and will, at any rate, be an off-campus residence. The next on-campus residence doesn’t even break ground until December 2005.

    Waiving the rule would allow TCU to ameliorate the problem immediately, rather than continue to inconvenience students until some far-off date. TCU needs to take responsibility for the students living in the residence hall and allow everyone to get the full TCU experience.

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