Expect disaster

Normalization of poor quality campus housing

Laurelae Bluntzer, Guest Writer

Like many upperclassmen, I was ecstatic this year to be able to live somewhere other than the campus dorms. College dorms tend to be talked down upon, made fun of and laughed over, so I did not think to associate a campus apartment with negativity, especially since I would have a kitchen and living room to share just with my roommates.

I landed the cheapest version of the CHA apartments: the regular two-bedroom apartment for four residents. Given that and the fact me and most of my friends dealt with an extra month of waiting before hearing anything from campus housing about our assignments, it was not like my standards were high. Perhaps the lack of communication should have been the first red flag, but things were actually going smoothly until we first set foot in the space during move in.

The idea of having a whole living room and kitchen inside made me think the place would be a bit more spacious than previous settings, so it felt silly to instantly see one of the four desks having to be placed out in the living room since it could not fit in either of the two furnished bedrooms. I didn’t think much of it and was ready to go separate the bunk beds in my room, but I realized upon entering that there was no space to do so. The other bedroom is about twice the size of mine and even has an extra narrow walking space by the closet.

A bathtub in the apartments with a concerning stain blue stain. (Perris Larson)

However, lack of space is not the only issue. We found black stains along the edge of the bathtub where it meets the wall. A round blue stain, surrounded by an even larger yellow stain, sits on the floor of our tub. We are not sure what it is, but four attempts with Scrubbing Bubbles did not get it out. The whole stain even ripped apart three sponges in a row from how tough it is. One friend of mine suggested that hopefully it is the remains of dark hair dye from previous residents. Regardless, I am just thankful that I still have my shower shoes with me.

Speaking of dirty feet, it was clear by finding scattered leaves on our floor and carpet also lightly speckled with stray bits of paper and plastic that no vacuuming had taken place in between the last move out and this fall quarter. The bottoms of our feet and socks have been black with dirt from walking through the apartment at the end of the day. I refused to take my socks off until getting to bed during week one of the quarter as our designated vacuum for the building was missing and is still being searched for.

It is also spider season still, and we have had multiple sightings. One dangled from the ceiling over my boiling pot of pasta during the first night after classes. I am not quite sure if it was one of them or some massive mosquitoes that left the sizable bug bites on top of my feet, but I am glad to at least not have found any bed bugs, since I no longer would feel surprised if we had them somewhere on campus. 

Quite possibly the most unsettling discovery was when one of my roommates found what appeared to be human mucus scattered on the wall that had to be scraped off. Even though these apartments are not currently being used for quarantining students anymore, it feels as though campus housing does not seem to care too much about the conditions that students live in. Contacting the housing staff has not been easy for the past few quarters either, as no emails were ever answered and it often takes two to three attempts at phone calls per day to get a hold of someone. I know of a few more students who struggled all summer to obtain a housing assignment, and zero of their several emails sent ever received responses. 

I do not want to seem as though I am being overdramatic, since some have already suggested that to me. I do still enjoy being in an apartment, even though it is a campus apartment. It is a huge privilege to have a roof over my head in the first place, let alone afford to have one. I am still growing into becoming more independent each year. I never once expected luxury when it came to campus housing, but I also did not expect what I or some of my other friends in CHA came upon. Still, I have missed some of the past experiences and perks of dorm life. It is still the beginning of the school year though. Knowing that I was able to make my last couple of tiny dorm spaces liveable with my past roommates, I have a good feeling that maybe with a few trips to HomeGoods my current roommates and I will figure out how to make more of what we got.