Quality of residence halls should be a higher priority
Letter to the editor
In her piece, “‘Going green’ should benefit the community, not administrators”, Kaitlin D’Agostino made a very valid point in regards to residence halls on the Rutgers-New Brunswick campus. We now have approximately 40,000 undergraduate students here at Rutgers, yet the only new type of housing being built are apartments, which for residents, cost significantly more than the average residence hall or suite. A residence hall costs $7,092 per academic year, while an on-campus apartment can range from $8,000 to $10,000 per academic year. Considering the current economic situation, it seems unlikely that most Rutgers students will be able to afford such housing if any at all due to our lottery system. Thus, students will either have to commute, live off-campus or choose to live in existing residence halls, some of which, as D’Agostino said, possibly have asbestos in their ceilings. This is even before you factor in the loss of hot water from time to time, the trigger-happy fire alarm systems that go off in the wee hours of the morning or the lack of effective heating and air conditioning that some residence halls suffer from. I myself have had to deal with all three of these issues last year when I lived in House 31 of Quad III on Livingston campus, as well as having a pipe burst in the basement one night, robbing me of several hours of study time and slumber.
If Rutgers wants to attract more students, just creating more clothes shops, food stores and luxurious apartments on campus won’t do. The University must also build new residence halls — or at least renovate the currently existing ones — so that students who can’t afford to live in, say, the Livingston Apartments, will still have a decent place to stay during the academic year. As it stands, there are students living in the lounges of residence halls because there isn’t any room for them, and they can’t afford the new or currently existing apartments. Is this the kind of image we want to give to prospective students? “Hey, come to Rutgers! We may not have a room for you to sleep in, but why not try one of our wonderful lounges?” If students’ tuitions must be spent on renovation and expansion, then at least provide services and living spaces all students can access.
Lisa Ankrah is a School of Arts and Sciences junior majoring in genetics.