Dorm costs don’t add up

Whether you are living in the newly renovated dorms with their clean halls and futuristic-looking common rooms, or in a dorm that seems all but abandoned by the University; no matter the size of the rooms, the price is the same. For freshmen, such as Tess Hanley, there was not a whole lot of choosing where she would live on campus. According to Hanley, incoming freshman were told to fill out a form asking if they were a smoker or not, and whether they wanted a double or a single. This is a different procedure from a few years ago when incoming freshman were asked to list their top three dorm choices in preferred order. Hanley landed in one of the dorms on campus with smaller rooms, Chittinden, with rooms 11 by 13.5 feet big. During orientation, freshmen stay in Harris/Millis, with rooms that are nearly twenty by seventeen feet big. According to Hanley, her room is livable but not comfortable. Hanley found out just last week that both residents of Chittinden Hall and Harris/Millis pay the same amount for housing per year: $5950 for a single and $5150 for a double. For Hanley, the location makes up for it. But what about dorms with smaller rooms that do not have a prime location for classes? Ashley Wilson and Abbey Hoffman are roommates in Coolidge Hall, which is located on Redstone Campus. Walk into Coolidge and you will not be greeted by a front desk, or find a common area with activities for the residents, such as a pool table. It sits facing away from the Redstone green with a basement full of locked doors with no answer to what’s behind them. Rooms here are 15 by 11 feet big. Wilson and Hoffman did not choose to be on Redstone as freshmen, and were not aware that they were paying the same amount to live in Coolidge as residents of dorms such as Simpson, where room measurements are almost 20 by 17 feet big.Or the newly renovated dorms in Wing/Davis/Wilks, at 12 by 17 feet. They did not think it was fair that since their room was so small they had to pay to have their beds lofted in order to make it comfortable. Although freshmen may not have a choice of where they are going to live, sophomores do not necessarily have a choice either. At the end of freshman year, soon-to-be-sophomores are given lottery numbers at random, and it is in the order of numbers drawn that they are allowed to sign up for a dorm. Devin Fallon and his roommate had bad lottery numbers, landing them in Coolidge, which, as Fallon described it, is a “gerbil trap.” Maya Boudreau is a sophomore at UVM and a resident of the fairly new Davis Hall. Boudreau lived in Buckham last year, when her thoughts were, “If I have to live in a dorm like this again next year I will kill someone.” Luckily, she received preferred housing due to her status as a Vermont Scholar. On the rooming process, Boudreau thought that it should be done more fairly so people do not get stuck in small rooms two years in a row. Boudreau was aware that she was paying the same amount to live in Davis this year as Buckham last year. Although it bothered her last year when she was in Buckham, this year she does not think about it, she said. Carren Coburn, Boudreau’s roommate, noted that this was a tough issue. Coburn does not think there is a way to make it fair. Since prices coincide with room size, she was not sure how much more or less students should have to pay, unless they build every dorm room the same. Michael Rubin, a freshman at UVM and resident of Coolidge, does not think that fixing pricing to accommodate room size would be a good idea, and not just because of the difficulty it would pose. Rubin sees making all standard housing the same price as a way to bring together people from all socioeconomic backgrounds. “This way there isn’t a dorm for rich kids and one for the poor,” Rubin said.