With the 2019–2020 academic year coming to a close, University students are beginning to look forward to the incoming fall semester. As COVID-19 continues to ravage the globe, stay at home orders and closures are still in place in regions across the United States. For many University students, self-isolation and quarantine have given them the chance to reflect on what they would like to achieve during the coming school year as well as what they would like to see change at the University. While the University has done its best to assist its students, families and faculty during this difficult time, there are still many areas of normal campus life that students feel need improvement.
One of the most noted areas of needed improvement is communication between the University administration and the students. This situation has proven that good communication is key to a successful educational institution and many students feel that this is an area that the University has slacked on in recent years. University sophomore Yianni Nicolaides said, “I think the University would be a much better school if the administration actually listened and valued what students have to say about their learning environment.” Many students have reported making complaints about several different issues around campus including the health hazards in the cafeteria, dorm maintenance and hygiene, the counseling center and many more. With so many complaints made on a weekly basis and almost no progress or follow-up, University students are beginning to wonder if their voices are being heard at all.
As mentioned above, another area of University life that needs improvement is the campus cafeteria. Countless students have reported severe cases of food poisoning, cross-contamination and expired food. University sophomore Vicky Navarro said, “The cafeteria is absolutely disgusting. I never purchase food from there unless I have no other option and even then there are very limited foods I can actually eat there.” Despite the managers that are frequently seen monitoring the cafeteria, University students complain that nothing seems to change and that is increasingly frustrating to see the University advertise “fresh” and “healthy” food when that is not what is being served. Navarro continued, “I wouldn’t be as upset if they at least listened to our complaints and tried to make the necessary changes, but I haven’t seen it happen yet.” Overall, University students have expressed that this is the most pressing issue on campus and hope that the situation improves for the incoming class.
Another frequently discussed issue among University students is dorm maintenance and upkeep. The University is situated in one of the safest and most historic neighborhoods in Manhattan, making it the perfect location for the four dormitories. However, while the location may be perfect, many students have spoken out against the University’s seeming lack of dorm preservation, citing mold, bug infestation, plumbing issues and broken air conditioners as the main issues in student housing.
When University sophomore Veronica Reyes put in a work order form to help get rid of the mold growing in her room, she was disappointed when the University failed to fill her request for weeks. When asked about the situation, Reyes said, “As someone with asthma, mold could cause a huge health problem for me so it was really frustrating because I felt like the University really didn’t care about my well-being. That’s why if there’s anything I’d love to see change, it’s dorm hygiene.” Other students have complained about the near-constant unsanitary conditions of the community kitchen areas. University sophomore Becca Gugliotta said, “On multiple occasions, I have attempted to use the kitchen area to make meals for myself and my roommates, and each time I have come across roaches on the floors or ant infestation in the cabinets and fridge.” Gugliotta is not the only one who has come in contact with unwanted pests in the kitchen as several University students have made advances to call attention to this issue during monthly town hall meetings and online forums.
Although the student body has many critiques when it comes to what the University could improve upon, the Setter community cannot wait to get back on campus and make new memories with their peers in the city that they have come to call home.