By Oliver Joszt
After four years, I’d like to think that Rider has shaped me in many ways. The professors have prepared me for the real world and taught me many amazing lessons. Rider’s clubs and organizations have helped me to branch out and meet people I typically wouldn’t. Its dorms have made me tough enough to live anywhere.
Whether the last thing I mentioned is good or bad, I’m not sure. In 2006, The Princeton Review ranked Rider as one of the most unattractive campuses within the quality of life section for having dorms like “dungeons.”
I don’t think many students living on campus can argue with that. The walls are bland and boring, the cinder blocks feel like they are closing in on you and there is barely room to move.
Also, I love the outdoors and nature as much as anyone else, but not in my room. Innumerable bugs have crawled into my room over the years and I have heard plenty of horror stories from other students. Now, according to the story on the front page, squirrells have been getting into our dorm buildings, though this is not the first story I have heard of them getting into our buildings. This leads me to wonder: how hard is it for Rider to put in a real window screen the dorms? There needs to be one that extends the length of the whole window. Instead of installing flat screen TVs throughout the hallways of the academic buildings, maybe we can install something that would benefit students.
Another thing that needs fixing in the dorms is the lack of air conditioning. I know the we are only troubled by the heat for about 2-3 months out of the year we are here, but those months can be brutal. Sweating to death in my own room does not make me want to do anything, let alone schoolwork.
Dorm space is also something that is lacking. Living in a cramped, small room with two or three people is not an enjoyable living experience. If you take one or two steps, you are already on your roommate’s side of the room. What happened to a person’s right to privacy?
While the recent additions of New Building and West Village are good steps toward upgrading student life, it still isn’t great. First of all, in order to get housing in these dorms, students have to go into a lottery system that leaves most students unhappy. This year I was lucky enough to escape the horrors of the older cramped dorm buildings and move into the New Building. I am very grateful that I now live in a bigger room with full screens, an air conditioner/heating unit and a bathroom that I only have to share with my roomates. Yet, others are not as lucky as me. There are plenty of seniors on campus who had to suffer in terrible housing all four years after their names weren’t called in the lottery.
This still leaves me with the question: what about some of the older dorms on campus? Students coming into the school will still have to deal with the same old housing. Sure, remodeling has been done on some of the buildings, but it just reminds students how much work the old buildings really need. Instead of building new dorms, we should slowly begin to tear down the buildings and build better dorms in their place. With West Village in place, we can accept the same number of students while Rider rebuilds an older dorm.
Other schools, such as Rutgers University and Ramapo College, provide their students with remarkable housing. For instance, Ramapo sophomores receive housing similar to our apartments in New Building, but bigger and better. By senior year, they have beautiful apartments that most of us can only get when we graduate from college and venture out into the real world.
I think that Rider is an amazing school with many great academic advantages, but dorm life needs a change. I love being at Rider and I want more people to want to come live on campus, but with the ghastly living conditions, I cannot see it happening.
Raskolnikov from Crime and Punishment put it best when he said, “Do you know … low ceilings and tiny rooms cramp the soul and the mind?”
Oliver is the Features and Arts & Entertainment editor and has lived on-campus for four years.