All Posts Tagged With: "residence life"
Vindication for residence management at Alberta
There was high demand for alcohol-free and quiet floors at a University of Alberta residence that decided to offer them for the first time this year. That result seems to vindicate residence management, whose consultation process was criticized last year by the Lister Hall Student’s Association, reports The Gateway.
Among applicants to Lister Hall, 24 per cent requested an alcohol-free floor and 46 per cent requested a quiet floor. That’s similar to what Residence Services predicted using their consultation process, which included a survey that found 51 per cent of the 302 residents surveyed last year would opt for a quiet floor and 19 per cent would live on an alcohol-free floor. The process began after residence management noticed a great number of people were leaving Lister in the first semester and suspected it might be due to rowdy weekend nights. Then-LHSA-President Dustin Edwards suggested there were likely other reasons for the exodus.
Why living in residence might not be worth $10,000 a year
When I was finishing high school, my biggest priority in choosing a university was to get out of the house and experience life in residence. Various pundits of higher education, family, friends, teachers, and counsellors, all touted the importance of experiencing that aspect of university life. You will learn as much outside of the classroom as inside of it, they insisted, provided you leave home and live in residence. Craving the perceived independence, freedom, and the idea of living down the hall from my entire group of friends in a “tight-knit community,” I swallowed their arguments whole and shipped off to Toronto.
Having now lived it, I am somewhat less enthusiastic about the value of moving away for university. In very tangible terms, I don’t think the benefits of living in residence are worth the $10,000 a year that pay the average university’s fees for room and board. Of course, I had some great times living in residence at U of T this past year. There were great parties, incessant socializing, and the comfort and convenience of not having to cook or clean.
But there were equally great parties living at home during high school, and my non-res friends at U of T can come down to campus whenever they feel like. Relative freedom from cooking and cleaning also likely exists for most of us at home. And incessant socializing, it turns out, gets old pretty fast, and can be a huge drain on one’s productivity and motivation to trying new activities rather than just chillin’ in the quad with the same dozen acquaintances.
An emphasis on the distinction between acquaintanceship and friendship is important. I think it’s fair to say that most of us enjoy real friendship with a handful of people, and that beyond that, social groups tend to consist of mere acquaintances–people with whom you are friendly, but don’t share the same depth of connection as you do with a real friend. Life in residence immerses you among acquaintances, which can certainly have its benefits in terms of honing social skills, becoming more open and accepting of differences, and so on. But it is likely mistaken to assume that living in residence will provide you with an instant, enormous, “tight-knit” network of friends.
Like in high school, people will always have their differences, and cliques still exist. The benefits of immersion into university life, such as the oft-cited creation of a “tight-knit” community, deserve to be scrutinized before you (or your parents) drop $40,000 or more over the course of your undergrad.
Universities see a rise in dorm cooking, more dining hall options
Once upon a time, eating in a college dorm meant soup in a hotpot or getting pizza delivered. The most interesting thing about the campus dining hall was often the salad bar.
No more. These days, college students have gourmet palates and a growing interest in preparing their own food. Mini-refrigerators and microwaves in dorm rooms are as essential as laptops. Chefs drop by dorm kitchens to give lessons, and dining halls provide takeout containers and ingredients for kids who want to cook their own meals.
“‘Are we allowed to have mini-fridges and microwaves in our residence hall room?’ That may be the No. 1 question our residential staff encounter from new students entering Western Illinois University,” according to John Biernbaum, who oversees the school’s housing and dining services in Macomb, Ill.
“The culinary literacy of college students is increasing,” said Tom Post, president of campus dining for Sodexo, a food service and facilities management company that works with 600 campuses in North America. “Students today grew up watching celebrity chefs on TV, eating organic food, enjoying authentic world cuisine and valuing good nutrition.”
In response, cafeteria menus have changed, with Sodexo’s top campus foods for 2009 including Vietnamese pho (noodle soup), mini-samosas, goat cheese salad and chicken mole. But colleges are also catering to student demands for more flexible and individualized dining options.
Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minn., offers recyclable takeout containers called “GustieWare” in the dining halls. This fall, Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, N.Y., will offer students on its meal plan a chance to pick up groceries in the cafeteria as an alternative to a cooked meal.
At Pitzer College in Claremont, Calif., food waste from the dining hall is used as compost for an organic garden where students grow lettuce, peppers, corn, kale, squash, carrots and other vegetables.
“The students also throw a garden party every week – usually Friday afternoon – where they get together to harvest the vegetables, then dine on the food with some live music,” said Jim Marchant, Pitzer dean of students. The garden is used “to teach principles of sustainable agriculture and encourage college community members to become more connected with the source of their food.”
Chartwells, the company that prepares food for dining halls at Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware, Ohio, offers microwaveable meals that students can take away, as well as a program called “My Pantry,” where students can have food individually prepared, or even do their own cooking.
“Clearly there has been a great rejection of the (traditional) campus meal plan, both because of the inflexibility of it and because you have so many different kinds of tastes now,” said Nach Waxman, owner of the Kitchen Arts & Letters cookbook store in Manhattan. “And the dorms have changed: They have kitchens and food prep rooms. When I was in college, there was no such thing.”