Shea Gilmour

Dorm etiquette: A letter to underclassmen

February 21, 2023

Last semester, Millis Hall experienced attempted arson around 2 a.m. on a Saturday night, displacing many students, according to a Dec. 7, 2022 Cynic article.

What this column aims to address is the root of these catastrophes.

It starts with the paper towels in the bathroom that people leave on the floor or the food left in the sink from washing dishes.

There is definitely slacking on the part of  those who have never lived in a shared space, or have never had to clean up after themselves. College is a new and exciting time where many people have freedoms they are not accustomed to.

However, being relatively unsupervised does not give anyone the go-ahead to completely disregard the fact that dorms are a shared space. 

To quickly preface the rest of this column, my point is not to reprimand or to be a “dorm mother” to anyone, but to try and help point out habits that can be obnoxious to the rest of the dorm. 

To start us off, let’s flush the toilets. I try to be brave and help out my own hallway when someone does not fulfill this responsibility. Taking a second to make sure you have completed all necessary tasks before leaving the bathroom may be able to mitigate this issue.

On the topic of toilets, it should also be emphasized that if you need to vomit, try to keep it in the bowl. 

“Last year, there were smashed pumpkins in our shower after Halloween [and] a coat covered in vomit sat in our hallway for three months,” said sophomore Elle Durst, a current Harris-Millis resident.

This is gross. Let’s do better. 

Next, if you’re washing dishes, please scoop the food out of the drain once you’re done. I’ll admit I have personally been a perpetrator of this infraction in the past.

I’m gagging at even writing this, but we’ve all gone to wash our faces in the morning to be confronted by mushy ramen or mysterious substances in the sink.

Fortunately, we don’t clean these public spaces, but UVM custodial staff has to. The least we can do is try to make their jobs slightly easier.  

On that note, if you bump into them, be nice and say “hi.”

Okay, enough bathroom talk. 

To all of my second, third and fourth floor residents, we have a special responsibility, which can be especially hard at the beginning of the school year. 

Listen, I understand rearranging the room sometimes has to happen. That being said, keep it to during the day when people aren’t trying to wind down and sleep. If this isn’t possible, try your best to keep the noise brief. 

Last year, I had an upstairs neighbor that bounced what I think was a ball for an hour every night at around 10 p.m., along with moving furniture. This is a perfect example of poor dorm etiquette.

I understand I’m making it sound like people were just having sex, but I can assure you it distinctly sounded like one of those overly-bouncy rubber balls.

Call me lame for wanting to go to sleep that early or to study that late, but nevertheless, the consistent ball-bouncing and scratching from furniture was torturous. 

One final thing that is truly annoying and just blatantly dumb is the consistent destruction of dorm property, specifically after a Friday or Saturday night.

Going out on the weekends is almost a right of passage in college, however it does not need to end in damaging all public property within a one-mile radius.

“There were 67 property offenses during the 2020-21 school year. This number was raised to 159 in the 2021-22 school year,” stated a Feb. 9 Cynic article.

There’s a particular window in Millis Hall that I’ve seen broken several times this school year already. 

My remedy to this issue would be to simply not break it. 

I understand people aren’t perfect. Someone sometimes genuinely forgets to flush, needs to un-loft their bed because they realized how inconvenient it is for their roommate, or has a crazy night out and has no choice but to let it all go.

Whatever it is, just try to be mindful of the other people living in your dorm building. It’s only two years.

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