Six suitemates, no showers

by Beacon Staff • September 30, 2009

suite and for about a week, we didn't have any hot water. Then, when we finally did, the water pressure was like showering under a handheld Brita filter.,We might as well have been bathing in the Frog Pond. My roommates and I recently had an issue with the shower in our six-person

suite and for about a week, we didn't have any hot water. Then, when we finally did, the water pressure was like showering under a handheld Brita filter. Six girls can't thrive under these conditions. It gets ugly.

So we started making calls-to maintenance,

to the RAs, to the Office of Housing and Residence Life, to anybody who would listen, desperately trying to find somebody who would hear our pleas and take action. We needed a plumbing hero.

Three grungy days later, somebody from the maintenance team knocked on our door, asking if they could take a look. After a five-minute examination, he told us we needed a new shower head and that he'd be back in an hour. He was never seen by anybody in the suite again.

A couple days after, two new maintenance workers came over in response to the same previously-placed calls. They told us the problem was more serious than a shower head-the entire system had to be knocked out and replaced.

They assured us they'd be back in an hour. We contemplated tackling the two and demanding they fix the shower on the spot, but we let them walk out.

Bad move: We didn't see them for the rest of the day.

Finally, our RA suggested we file a work order with management so we had our request in writing. That Thursday, six days after our original complaint, we were assigned a work order. The woman on the phone promised somebody would come by soon.

A few hours later, a new maintenance worker stopped by, removed the shower head and walked away without explanation. It wasn't until Monday afternoon that he came back to fix the rest of the problem.

Throughout this ordeal it felt like my suitemates and I had to run blindfolded through an obstacle course to get a seemingly simple problem remedied. Our calls appeared to fall on deaf ears. We were six ladies being stood up.

In the grand scheme of life, a broken shower isn't the end of the world-especially since we could use the common bathroom for our most pertinent bathing needs. But when I fork out $6,390 each semester, I am entitled to a working bathroom.

When my suitemates and I shared our anecdote with our fellow dorm-dwellers, we were met with similar stories of frustration. Melody Goddard, a sophomore communication disorders major living in a single in the Little Building, told us a story about how her room didn't have a mirror.

"My RA asked around for me and found out the company the school buys furniture from doesn't make the model of armoire in the LB anymore, and that was that," she said. "I had to buy one even though everybody

else already had one. It sucked." Now that's something to reflect on.

Omri Rolan, a sophomore marketing communication major now living in Piano Row, regaled me with a tale from last year, when he lived in the 12th floor of the Little Building.

Apparently, his ceiling leaked when it rained.

"I didn't even know who to ask about it," he said. "A custodian came to look at it, but nothing got fixed. Luckily the rainy season was pretty much over [by that] point."

There's more: Of the ten random Emersonians

I talked to, eight of them had experienced

issues with their living situations that they didn't even bother reporting (missing window shades, doors that didn't lock and more) because they didn't know where to go for help.

If these students are any indication of the entire student body, there are a lot more problems being ignored than remedied.

Currently, Emerson's Web site has a page for almost every facet of the college, but when it comes to resident life, I can't get much further than finding out which washing machines are being used. Ideally, Emerson should have some sort of online component to handle repair claims.

Based on my experience, the problem lies between the claim itself and the response.

Things in dorms break. A lot. And yet there appears to be no clear way to get them fixed efficiently.

This year, sophomores are required to stay on-campus. There's even talk of extending the requirement to juniors after the Paramount Building is finished in the spring. I'm not a math genius, but more dorms plus more residents equals more repairs.

Unless Emerson streamlines, comes up with an improved system for handling repairs, the list of work orders is going to get even more backed up. I'm not sure we can handle more plumbing problems.

For now, if we ever have another maintenance issue in our suite, my roomies and I will probably just whip out the duct tape and get crafty.