Garth Van Donselaar–Staff Writer
Without a doubt, East Campus is stereotyped by students as being the ghetto of Dordt College, and overall, a miserable place to live. Towards the end of each year, future juniors and seniors frantically try to find six people to live together in Southview or Kuyper so they can avoid East Campus.
Others see the appeal of living with fewer people even in a smaller and more dated apartment building. Granted, they can be stereotyped as wanting a more secluded area to drink on campus.
In previous years a complete group for registering for East Campus housing was four people. This year the number has been increased to five. According to the On-Campus Student Housing FAQ, the reasoning comes from increased enrollment and the fact that East Campus was originally intended to house six students.
As of right now, there are approximately three and half people per one East Campus apartment. No apartment currently has six residents, and six out of 48 apartments house five residents.
Regardless of stereotypes and numbers, is living in East Campus as bad as people say it is? To really find out, I visited apartments in East Campus with the most amount of people living in a single apartment building: five.
“Honestly, I think we thought that with five we would still be okay since we were all seniors,” said senior Emma DeVries. DeVries and her roommates were a group of five who registered to room in Kuyper and Southview but were unable to make it in.
Their group of friends had split into two groups; the other one had six and made it into Kuyper. Because of their confidence in the group’s likelihood of being placed in another apartment, they never looked into picking up a sixth person to increase their odds.
The biggest issue DeVries and her roommates have encountered is space, but they find ways to manage. “Sometimes in the kitchen it’s small. We kind of eat in shifts,” DeVries said.
“In terms of us five, we’re just really chill people, so there are no problems relationally. It’s just space,” said senior Anneke Wind, a roommate of DeVries.
While it may be easy to be critical, students acknowledge Dordt’s efforts to make East Campus better. “From now on they should always have the A/Cs in here, because I think that’s the one redeeming factor that really helps,” DeVries said.
DeVries and Wind will have it easier next semester, as one of their roommates, Kendra Pohlman, graduates in December. “There’s still four people here, so it’s decent I guess,” Pohlman said.
While space is an issue for some, others do not seem to have a problem with it. Jokingly, junior Jair Olguin said, “All of us just don’t take much space at all. We can all just go in our little corner and be fine.”
Olguin was friends with all of his roommates prior to housing assignments, so they have been able to get along without any conflict. They tried to find a sixth person to room with, but when unable to, they ended up in East Campus.
“I kind of thought these apartments were run down from the way people talked about them, but they’re actually fairly nice,” added junior Jeffrey Graber, a roommate of Olguin. Another roommate, junior Michael Gaul, said, “I’ve been in Southview a few times, and I think I actually like the floor spacing of East Campus a lot more.”
Even the biggest complaint from the guys came as a joke. “The bathroom is straight out a horror scene,” Graber said. “There’s this dinky yellow light and a small shower.”
“Water pressure is good, though,” quipped Dylan Vander Berg right after.
For others, water pressure would be too good, as rain leaked into the bedroom. “It wasn’t like standing water, but it was very sopping wet,” said junior Kiana Haveman.
Unlike the other apartments, Haveman’s room was formed by a core of three friends, with Haveman and another roommate joining somewhat out of necessity. Collectively, they tried to search for a sixth, but were also unsuccessful, as possible roommates wound up not returning to Dordt.
“I know these people now. I’ve gotten to know them pretty well,” said junior Anna Boer, a roommate of Haveman. Boer was a part of the initial three-person core their room started with, in addition to her twin sister Michaela.
“If it was like five random people together, it would be impossible. I really don’t think it would be working as well as it does,” said junior Annika Carlson, another roommate. Because Anna and Michaela are twin sisters, they share things such as shampoo, clothes, and food. This makes space more available and living more manageable.
All five of them are surprised at how well they have managed to get along and cite that as the primary reason for being able to handle the more confined space. While they manage for now, they are definitely going to try to find a sixth person and shoot for Kuyper next year.
Space seems to be a re-occurring issue mentioned by those living with five in East Campus. However, when I asked people I interviewed if they considered leaving their group for one with an opening, all 13 immediately said “no.”
Also, when asked if East Campus is as bad as everyone makes it out to be, again all 13 said “no.”
East Campus may have a bad rap, but those living there do not seem to mind calling it home, at least for now.