Officials must improve services provided to residential students

Opinions Columnist | Mass communication senior

The Student Business Services and Residential Life departments need better organization and more helpful staffs in order to more adequately serve students who live on campus.

For the four years I have lived on campus, either in a dorm or in the university-owned apartments, my interactions with the Residential Life department have been noticeably lacking. This is largely because students have facilitated most of my interactions with the Res Life department. However, none of this would be a problem if only these students could manage to answer questions with something more informative than a blank stare.

Even now, when I go to the front desk, I feel as though I am greeting some other student who just wandered in and sat down to play Flappy Bird on their phone rather than an educated university employee. Every single time I have come in with questions, the lackluster Res Life student employees have had to get up and ask an adult for assistance before they could provide an answer.

I have no problem with an office being run by students, but they need to be trained to answer all questions related to campus living with directness and specificity. Uneducated staff members can be infuriating, especially when dealing with something as important as rent and move-in dates. The Residential Living department needs to make serious changes in training their employees if they care at all about properly serving the students who choose to live on campus.

Another issue students living on campus have to deal with is Student Business Services’ lack of communication and organization, especially at the beginning of a semester. Last year, my neighbors and I never received a utility bill—until three months later when it was all included in one lump sum. SBS employees were very vague with their email about the bill, and when we called the Residential Life department for more information, the head honcho was not even sure what was going on.
Those who live in on-campus apartments or dorms should be a priority for SBS. If a student is behind on rent because three months’ worth of utilities were charged all at once or some other cost was charged twice, that student could potentially be unable to sign up for classes. SBS officials need to realize if students cannot pay their housing fees due to a screw-up on their part, it ends up hurting the student, SBS and the university all at the same time.

SBS and the Res Life department should work together to make sure everything runs as smoothly as possible for those who live on campus. Students who take on important Res Life positions such as resident assistant or hall desk worker should be well trained and able to answer most questions with clarity and confidence.

Every time I have to face extra hardships due to screw-ups either from SBS or Res Life, I am tempted to walk to these offices and smack employees with my contract. I am paying to live on campus, and I, and everyone else who is doing so, deserve to have as smooth an experience as possible.