By Michelle Lampariello
Most freshmen have to deal with a similar lack of amenities in their residence hall: a tiny bedroom, communal bathroom and no air-conditioning. There are subtle differences between each residence hall, such as Wi-Fi — or lack thereof — and whether or not there is a sink in the room. But, ultimately, every freshman is housed in a similar environment.
The same cannot be said for sophomores. This week’s battle royale over timeslots and housing options demonstrated the stark differences in sophomore housing options.
There was a scramble for air conditioning, private bathrooms and larger living spaces that residence halls such as Eickhoff Hall, New Residence Hall and Townhouses East can provide. Residence halls without air conditioning and suite-style bathrooms, such as Decker, Cromwell and Norsworthy halls, did not fill up as quickly and are viewed as undesirable by many students.
The price of room and board is standard for every sophomore, despite the differences in amenities that each residence hall offers. It does not make sense for an air-conditioned, spacious dorm with a private bathroom to be the same price as a crammed suite without air-conditioning. Housing prices should be adjusted, so students pay a rate that corresponds to their residence hall instead of an across-the-board price.
The College’s website lists the price of a room, without the added cost of a meal plan, at $4,396.81, though, the overall cost of room and board may vary from student to student based on the meal plan they choose.
The notion that larger meal plans are more expensive makes sense. If you would like to have the amenity of more points, then you have the option to pay for it. It has long been accepted that a meal plan that includes nearly 700 carte blanche points should cost more than a meal plan that includes under 200.
This logic doesn’t transfer when the price of housing is considered. Students with early time slots do have the option to have more amenities, but they pay the same price as students who do not have the same features and do not have the luck of the draw.
If prices were adjusted for each residence hall, students looking to save money can choose to live in housing options with less amenities, regardless of their time slot. This would prevent popular residence halls from filling up so quickly and give more students a chance to consider them.
It is understandable that the College may not be able to afford lowering the price of residence halls that are unpopular with students. However, raising the price of popular housing can be an added source of revenue that could be used toward renovating unpopular housing.
The difference in price does not need to be large — even a small change would be enough to make students reconsider their housing choices.
This method can be considered for upperclassmen housing, as well. However, differences in housing options for juniors and seniors are not as polarized, so the implementation of staggered housing prices should begin with sophomores.
It is time we stop believing that an air-conditioned, spacious dorm with a private bathroom should cost the same as a small, not air-conditioned, six-person suite.