And They All Fall Down

Caitlin Husted, Senior Editor

Walking around campus, many can feel the frustration and agitation caused by Millikin’s announcement regarding housing for the 2014-15 academic year. Soon after the release of the changes, students began voicing their opinions.

These opinions didn’t come as a surprise to the individuals involved with the decision process. Jared Rixstine, student body president, was prepared for students’ negative reactions.

“Any time you have an announcement or change, it’s impossible to get all of the information out in an efficient fashion,” Rixstine said.

To help with this situation, a forum was held a few weeks ago in order for students to hear faculty discuss the upcoming changes and the reasoning behind them. While it helped relay more specific information about the situation, students’ agitation about the lack of upperclassman housing remains palpable.

Many students feel as if Millikin is forcing them to move into the Woods for next school year. As college students, this feeling obviously doesn’t go over well.

Mark Gehlbach, junior health, fitness and recreation major, was an RA on Mills 2 for the 2013-14 academic year. Even though he won’t have to worry about living on campus next year, he still had strong opinions about the matter.

“We are adults. Being forced to do things is way too much like how you treat a kid,” Gehlbach said. “Millikin either needs to be up front with all first year prospects about the issue or risk even worse retention rates if they try to hide or sugar coat the issue.”

One of the biggest concerns for students considering where to live next year is the cost of living in the Woods. While more than $700 a month may seem steep for an apartment, the cost of living in a dorm is within the same realm, contrary to popular belief.

“If you can live on-campus now, you can live in the Woods next year,” Rixstine said. “Because of the way financial aid packages are run, because of the way it factors in the cost of attendance there will be no huge increase next year if you decide to go from on-campus housing to the Woods.”

While keeping Mills and Hessler running may seem like a cheaper option for students, they should keep in mind what the cost of housing would be if Millikin decided to renovate the residence halls instead of tearing them down.

According to President White, Mills increasing level of plumbing problems would cost Millikin several million dollars to repair. In addition, if Millikin began fixing Hessler, there would be a domino effect of repairs, also costing the university several million dollars.

“If we [renovate], we spend a lot of money and we still have an old building that is not conducive to contemporary residence living,” White said. “No common spaces, very little hanging out space. It’s just a shotgun 1960’s dormitory.”

However, if Millikin takes advantage of the housing stock already in place, they can put that money to better use, including, according to President White, scholarship funds.

No one is disillusioned as to believe that Mills is in good enough condition to continue running, however, it’s the atmosphere that people are going to miss.

“While facility wise Mills may have been the worst, nowhere else on campus had a better community,” Gehlbach said. “Many of the first years that come through Mills have long lasting friendships. Those that survived one year in Mills went on to love this university more than most others.