Rash of intersession complaints prompts ResLife action

Noyes House is used between academic sessions to house students to wish to stay on campus during breaks. Recently, ResLife has begun to address complaints made by permanent and guest residents. Photo By: Katie de Heras
Noyes House is used between academic sessions to house students to wish to stay on campus during breaks. Recently, ResLife has begun to address complaints made by permanent and guest residents. Photo By: Katie de Heras
Noyes House is used between academic sessions to house students to wish to stay on campus during
breaks. Recently, ResLife has begun to address complaints made by permanent and guest residents. Photo By: Katie de Heras

For the residents of Noyes, spring break often involves cleaning and preparing their rooms for incoming guests. While Noyes residents surely expect this to happen year in and year out, many students have complaints about the process. This year, though, some of these comments were brought to the attention of Director of Residential Life Luis Inoa.

Specifically, the damages that occur during break irritates students who live in Noyes all year. Aaron Hill ‘16, a Noyes resident who stayed over spring break, described some complaints he noted in an an emailed statement. He said, “Most people in Noyes that I’ve talked to dread intersession housing due to the fact that usually they (and I) have to come back to a nearly ruined kitchen that we always have to clean up, a fridge full of rotting and spoiled food, and rooms that are often dirtier than we left them.”

Additionally, the situation also strains students who must move into the two week intermission housing.. Strong House resident Jessica Grinnell ‘14 never leaves for campus vacations. In the last year, she has stayed during the three intersession periods—summer, winter and spring. She wrote in an emailed statement, “It feels very weird to be in someone else’s space. You never feel really comfortable, you’re trying not to touch anything and there is nowhere to put your stuff…I think part of the reason most people hate Noyes is that it just isn’t their home. I get used to my room, my floor, my routine and to have that thrown out the window every few months is aggravating.”

Inoa explained that intersession housing has been changing in recent years to meet and work with the increase in student demand for break housing. Originally, Noyes, which can house a limited number of 170 students, served as the only option for students staying over spring break. Due to the demand, however, Main and the apartment areas have provided housing, allowing for more students to stay on campus.

Inoa said, “The reasons why Main is open and why we encourage students to stay out in the apartments is because of the feedback we received. We were getting to a place with both winter and spring break where we had a capacity issue. In fact, the total number of students staying on campus over these last two weeks was about 400.”

These additions to the intersession housing policy alleviated some of the strain put on Noyes. Now, some students wish that dorms would stay open for the two week break period..

Morgan Howe ‘14, who has gone through this process for three years, understands why the campus needs at least one dorm to stay open; however, she wishes this would not apply strictly to Noyes during spring break. In an emailed statement she wrote, “It can be somewhat stressful to be trying to pack up most of my room and clean everything for a guest while midterms are going on. Before winter break, at least there’s study week to help space things out, but before spring break, we’re essentially packing to go home, cleaning out the majority of our rooms, and also trying to take exams at the same time.” Howe added that one improvement she wants to see is for the guest residents to be held more accountable for the condition in which they leave the rooms at the end of break. She suggested that residents of Noyes should be able to fill out a survey offering feedback.

Inoa pointed out that keeping a dorm open for a month costs around $8,000-10,000.

Inoa made it clear that this possibility would still require students to apply and pay to stay in their own rooms. “I think my biggest concern in having anything that says, ‘The College is open and you have no classes for two weeks,’ is that, [the College] cannot become a spring break destination. If we move to this extreme, there would be a particular kind of rigidity for behavioral expectations that differ from the entire year,” he laughed.

Ultimately, he has one major goal. He stated, “If we end up doing what we think is best for all of our students, I’ll be relieved. If not, then I know I have a lot of work ahead of me.”

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