Campus tours are meant to show a university in its best light. It’s no wonder that schools choose to show their best dining halls, the new gym, or the renovated housing. Unfortunately, only showcasing the nicest amenities causes the students to face disappointment upon move in day. Many see this sales tactic as a sense of false advertising.
Student housing is a particular area of concern. The New York Times published a review of “Dorms You’ll Never See on the Campus Tour” specifically mentioning the Andros complex here at USF. Andros is a 50-year-old residence hall that has showers so tiny a student had, “trouble raising her arms above her head to lather her hair, with water temperatures that veer from freezing to scalding,” according to The New York Times.
Andros housing, often crowded and dysfunctional, is a far cry from the apartment-style housing on campus, which offers private rooms and a private kitchen. It is not difficult to predict which form of housing will usually be shown to prospective freshmen.
The issue is transparency in business. While it would be great for campus tours to be fully honest, that is not reality. The best solution is to eliminate the amount of unsuitable housing, which allows for a more complete tour. If all dorms are at least reasonable, then there is no cause to avoid showing all options to freshmen.
USF is taking steps toward this issue with plans to renovate Andros into a full facility with new buildings, a dining hall, restaurants, and a gym, according to The Oracle. These improvements would obviously lead to a much more fulfilling experience for incoming students and others on the USF campus, as well as create a new highlight for forthcoming campus tours.
In the end, it is in the university’s interest to have the best housing possible. The institutional, drab dorms of the past are unreasonable to expect paying students to live in. The cost of college now is too high to justify such sub-par conditions. Many universities, including USF, have combated the move off-campus by requiring students to live in a residence hall for their first year.
Even with the first-year housing requirement, only 77 percent of first-year students live on campus, according to the College Board. While this has something to do with USF’s reputation as a commuter school, it may also have to do with the price and condition of housing. If students can purchase better housing at a cheaper rate off campus, then they will.
Even still, living on campus the first year can certainly help foster friendships and aids in learning the university layout. However, it also forces many freshmen into the worst, often oldest, housing. It is not necessary for every student to have a private room with a walk-in closet and a flat-screen TV, but every freshman should have a realistic chance at living comfortably on campus, regardless of their income status.
Chelsea Mulligan is a
sophomore majoring in political science.