If you haven’t already heard me ranting about it in the SciLi, or at UCS, or on the Main Green, here’s some not so new news: the university is currently 80 students over capacity, resulting in the displacement of students all over campus in makeshift dorm rooms. Not to beat a dead horse or anything, but housing this year has put a damper on some of our original plans for Brown’s social scene. These include hipster get-togethers in the South Wayland lounge (now home to four sophomores), late night baking parties in unconverted kitchens, and rockin’ parties in a charming Jameson lounge. Without this communal space, students have been driven to find other ways to entertain themselves. This includes waiting in ridiculous lines for Blue Room sushi/Kabob & Curry, people-watching from the window of Tealuxe (or is that just me?), attempting to break into the mythical tunnels, and ranting about said housing crunch.
One of my friends relayed a story about a girl whose plaster ceiling fell on her head. He could not extend his eavesdropping abilities to find out the dorm in which this Chicken-Little occurrence happened, but it does raise the question– where the &$!@ are we supposed to live? UCS, the Corporation, and ResCouncil are working on creating a plan to make the life better for students inside the dorms in order to cement our position as the happiest students in the country. While they’re at it, can they put water dispensers back in the gym? I’d prefer not to trust the spout of a dust/sweat-crusted water hose with the sterility of my drinking water.
I must say that I am a member of the Undergraduate Council of Students’ Campus Life committee, and my ideas do not reflect those of the community. If you didn’t read the email following the Corporation meetings last weekend, they are in fact taking steps to improving housing by converting 315 Thayer St from Auxiliary Housing to Brown dormitories. Yet, in order to further open up the campus conversation about this housing “situation,” here are some of my ideas for an ideal world in which money were not a variable:
1. Make Perkins into upperclassman singles and possibly renovate the kitchens into a more state-of-the-art and utile common space.
2. Consider eliminating freshmen from Andrews. The rooms are large and would go quickly in the housing lottery. Additionally, because the rooms are so big, each hallway has very few students, which is not conducive to the freshman community that Brown seeks to achieve.
3. Knock out Power St. Garage and build a quad for freshmen. Relocate parking underground
4. Create a new dormitory near/over the current DPS building targeted at Juniors and Seniors with apartment-style living that is catered to student-preferences
This would create an upperclassman community down-campus that would include Young Orchard, Perkins, Barbour, and New Dorm
5. Littlefield Hall is currently attached to Maxcy Hall. Make the entire building a dormitory and move the offices into another space.
This would add approximately 40-50 beds in Littlefield
Without Perkins and Andrews, we would need another dorm for freshmen. Herein lies the problem. Do you create another small dorm or convert a building like Caswell into freshman housing? How would upperclassmen housing shake out? It may simply result in more students living on-campus, which would only exacerbate the housing problems. Ultimately, two new dorms need to be built – one that is more accommodating to the needs of upperclassmen and one to bring the fringed members of Brown’s freshman community back into the fray.