Rochelle vanderHelm – Staff Writer
I know you think this is a joke—Dordt’s favorite joke, besides the one about student engagement—but now that we have worn out the punchline that East Campus has been temporary for the past 60 years, it is time to talk about the real issue with these apartments: nearly everything.
Several months ago, I tried to have a good attitude when I found out that my room-of-five would be living in East Campus this year. One roommate who worked maintenance over the summer offered a bit of hope, we would be living in building E, the least run-down of East Campus. If this is the standard, I pity the poor souls in the other buildings.
I also thought it was comical when an empty beer can fell from the ceiling tile in the shower and bounced off my shoulder. I was fully clothed at the time, but such absurd occurrences quickly accumulate into irritation.
The windows leak, of course. I heard about all the flooding freshman year. Naturally, the garbage disposal vomits dirty water and food particulates all over the counter, floor and any unfortunate bystander who might be kneeling by the refrigerator at the time (i.e. me).
Has anyone mentioned how noisy East Campus is, especially during the warmer months? The mold problem requires a dehumidifier to be running most times, add that to the ill-fitting air conditioning unit that rattles threateningly in a gentle breeze (for the record, this can be rectified with a strategically placed napkin), the air conditioning’s own hum, the shower fan that is inexplicably connected to the outer bathroom’s light switch, and the occasionally necessary stove fan, result in five women shouting and gesticulating to be understood around the dinner table.
Let’s talk about amenities. Laundry? I get to cart my wardrobe across the campus green to Covenant Hall, underclassmen housing, to wash my clothes every week. I feel disrespected, and I come from a low respect culture. This is a new development. East Campus originally had washers and driers stashed in a closet. Although it was renovated in 2011, East Campus has fewer perks now. Common areas? Nope. Computer lab? Uh-uh. Printers? Try again. What if my roommate is taking a shower? Well too bad, there isn’t even a community bathroom where East Campusers can relieve themselves in an emergency.
These are all luxuries that every other resident’s hall on Dordt Campus enjoys access to in the comfort of their own buildings. Even North Hall has washing machines, no matter how rarely they are utilized.
I pay the same room and board price as those living in Southview and Kuyper. I pay the same amount as them whether they have four people in a six-person apartment or five in a four-person one. I pay the same amount, but I get to walk to Southview to print my essays.
I’m not complaining about the fairness of it. Well, actually, I am. It’s unfair. If I got a discount for putting up with orange walls and no pantry space, well, I wouldn’t be writing this opinion.
Dordt is clearly comfortable with spending millions of dollars on building projects, the next project will be $35 million for a new commons, parking, renovations to the Beej, and air conditioning for the men’s underclassmen housing and the Dewitt Gym.
Other recent building activities have been the skywalk, the nursing building, and the new theater/pro-tech building, all mostly worthy price tags. However, East Campus has been a problem since my aunt went to Dordt forty years ago. Perhaps it is because we don’t complain about it enough. Most people just grin and bear their situation in hopes of gaining access to a nicer housing next year. Well, I am graduating, and just like it was my last chance to live somewhere nice, this is my last chance to voice my dissatisfaction.
On a more positive note, East Campus has a nice kitchen and a real thermostat, so there’s no messing with those silly -4 to 4 dials in most housing that I am 50% sure is a placebo. In the sea of negatives, the thermostat is the only perk. Still, who let them paint the walls that persimmon orange? Did they get the paint on discount?