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The Dickinsonian

The student news site of Dickinson College.

The Dickinsonian

The student news site of Dickinson College.

The Dickinsonian

Get real Dickinson, fix housing

Get real Dickinson…we need to fix housing


You probably know what this piece is going to say. I didn’t get the housing selection I wanted, nor did most of my senior friends. So, we complain.

But simply complaining is not productive. Sure, I could sit here and write about how my group of four seniors had a time slot in the first half hour of the housing lottery and couldn’t manage even a measly apartment with two doubles. Or about how the underclassmen are supremely screwed, as even Morgan and Witwer suites began to be numbered after senior selection night. But that’s not what I want to focus on.

We need solutions. 

To be fair, as administration you have to feed, educate, and house 2300 undergraduates from the ages of 18 to 22. They all have different priorities and many of them have parents who have a propensity for meddling in their kids’ lives. Not an easy situation by any means.

But let’s cut to the chase. A residential college needs better housing options for upperclassmen. In their second, third and fourth years, Dickinson students must have more options for apartment-style living, a greater possibility of selecting single rooms and greater transparency about the housing process.

At a bare minimum, residential life should make clear how many people are choosing at each time slot and update the housing selection graphic just to the last year. We should not go into selection night without a clear picture of what will be on the table when we select. To say the least, the residential life office has some serious work to do.

The issue fundamentally does not lie with the residence life staff, however. They make do with what the school has. And what the school has does not cut it. Goodyear and Denny apartments are nice, but so scarce. High Street Residence has good amenities, but it towers above every other dorm building. Morgan Hall is aging, not to even speak of the Spradley-Young roof incident last year or the mold in Conway. 

Let’s face it, the housing options are becoming a liability for the institution. I don’t think that most current students can in good faith tell prospective applicants that they are satisfied with their living situations for all four years. 

Dickinson has the funds to make a positive movement on this issue. The Jones administration has proven that it is willing to make large capital investments when infrastructure needs arise (see the $50 million we’ve just spent on the HUB renovations). More, better housing should be the single highest priority going forward for the college. 

A famous scholar of education once said that if they were asked to design a college from the ground up, they would start with the dorms, then build the library, then finally the classrooms. If we truly believe in the power of a residential education, we will bring housing up to shape.

The Dickinson website reads, “Students need space for physical and intellectual activities to fully benefit from this experience.” 

I wholeheartedly agree. Make it happen.

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    Go Hard Big DickMay 2, 2024 at 7:05 pm

    As a student with academic and housing accommodations, I believe there was an influx of people (freshmen, nothing wrong with that) who were eligible for housing accommodations and took the opportunity. This is basically what made it hard to get an apartment. I have accommodations for a mental condition, but they allowed me to also pick others to live with me as well. I know that the school must do everything in its power to help students with accommodations, but I think it basically led to people figuring out that if one friend has accommodations, it’s an almost guaranteed apartment for the friend group.