Opinion

Calling for a cure to freshman housing woes

Nearly all former UM Presidents have had a Residential College named after them, and with our school’s persistent housing issues, it’s time that Edward T. Foote II has a Residential College named after him too: a fifth freshman-exclusive tower. As a freshman living in Eaton, I can attest to the fact that the housing woes extend beyond University Village.

Freshmen are not the most vital component to any college community; in fact we are far from it. We tend to walk around awkwardly, navigating the campus with a large map that basically screams “freshman,” but at least we should be able to do this together, with people who share the same interests. After matriculating here, I was directed to the MyUM page to fill out my housing request, only to discover a questionnaire devoid of personality.

From looking at how I answered the questions (“Do you smoke?” and “Would you like to request to live on a “Quiet Plus” Floor?” or “Would you like to request to live on a “Substance Free” Floor?”), one would see that I don’t smoke, I speak at a normal decibel level, and that I don’t mind if the people down the hall (if I were to be placed in a dorm with students who are of legal drinking age, of course) are in possession of alcohol.

Standard college housing questionnaires ask questions such as “Do you like to go to sleep early or late?” and “Are you neat or messy?” or “Do you like to listen to loud music?” Even though all questionnaires are somewhat limiting, the greater the variation of questions asked, the greater the chance the student will room with someone with similar interests.

One might respond to my obvious allusion that UM must put more emphasis on the housing questionnaire by saying that a more detailed questionnaire would, if anything, limit diversity, but when it comes down to roommate compatibility, worrying about diversity is far less important.

While I was luckily assigned a compatible roommate and suitemates, who now all share my most prevalent interest in FIFA 2006 for X-Box, some people aren’t as lucky.

The four of us agree that despite our bigger rooms and connecting bathroom, we would sacrifice this apparent luxury in order to live in a freshmen dorm, if only for the experience.

Of course, there are the unlucky students living with the RAs or in the local Holiday Inn-whose housing issues are terrible-but UM must recognize that taking measures to ensure that freshmen live with other compatible freshmen is a legitimate issue that freshmen living in Mahoney, Pearson, and Eaton have.

As I said before, I recognize that freshmen are not the most vital contributors to a college community, but we are, by nature, the future of a strong student body. Freshmen not living in a freshman tower are at risk of not being as focal when we become upperclassmen, and more importantly, we are being robbed of an important experience.

Adam Flomenbaum is a freshman majoring in political science. He can be contacted at a.flomenbaum@umiami.edu

September 22, 2006

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