According to the DePauw University Campus Living and Community Development (CLCD)Office’s website, the goal of upperclassmen housing communities on campus is “to have students leave DePauw prepared to enter an increasingly complex and diverse world as a productive citizen.” After living in an upperclassmen duplex last semester, I must beg to differ.
When the opportunity presented itself to become a live-out member of my sorority, I was thrilled. Having visited other housing units, usually for social gatherings prohibited in Panhellenic housing, the idea of my own place sounded great.
I could finally tap into the inherited housekeeping abilities from Mom and Grandma, which I didn’t have the chance to use before. Cooking my own meals, doing laundry without trudging up and down three flights of stairs, and my own single bedroom: who wouldn’t be thrilled?
I moved into The Pence House duplex near Blackstock in August. Immediately stunned by the blank, un-insulated walls, disappointment in our placement (not the one we requested on Jackson Street) sunk in.
In the laundry room, the washer and dryer stood in front of a disgusting amount of dust. A black layer of scum stuck between the shower door and bathtub clearly hadn’t been cleaned properly in years. There were gnats around before we even brought in food.
That my room and board price equaled my friend’s in a spotless Rector Village apartment across campus shocked me. Not only did they have accessible location and weekly cleaning service, their places also came equipped with toilet paper and a vacuum. My duplex did not.
Basically, I paid the same price for a lower quality unit, which I found out wasn’t meant to be permanent housing in the first place. “To meet the demand for housing after the Rector fire [in 2002], DePauw constructed nine two-story duplexes behind Roy O. West Library that house eight upperclassmen students each.”
The intentions to give students a suitable place to live on campus were genuine, but the reality of these units is regrettable. They are outfitted with stained furniture not suited to the building’s measurements and are not to be removed, according to university policy. My bed could only be placed against the non-air-tight exterior window because it was too long to fit the interior wall. The engineering seemed idiotic.
It wasn’t only the building itself that vanquished my too-high expectations. The procedures and policies of CLCD office in conjunction with those of Facilities Management were also a source of frustration.
On multiple occasions, the entrance of Facilities Management employees without knock or doorbell stupefied my housemates and me. Never did these employees introduce themselves or describe their assigned task at hand. Most of the time, these tasks weren’t requests my roommates or I made.
When I called to ask Facilities Management to clarify their procedures for sending employees to the living units, they asked me for more information about my complaint of the issue at hand. They never responded with a straight answer.
With discrepancies between units and unprofessional procedures, the system is subpar. The worst part-it’s the only choice for housing besides Greek units (which for women, isn’t much better). Because DePauw requires its students to live on campus, we are deprived of real world experiences: apartment hunting, signing leases and (truly) independent living. Bottom line, DePauw housing does not, as its objectives state, yield productive world citizens.
-Dickman is a senior English writing major from Zionsville, Ind.