Where is my 80k Tuition Going? I Can Tell You One Place It Is Not: Housing

5 min read

Frieda Seo ’26

Contributing Writer

The three Summit residential buildings (Summit East, North and South) have been regarded as one of the best on-campus dorms to live in because of their relatively new construction and their crown jewel: air conditioning. During the bloodbath of the housing hunger games, rising sophomores to seniors alike fought tooth and nail for a chance to be in the “Hilton hotel”-like dorms. However, living in paradise has a high cost. Summit East, better known as the FRED, claims to provide its residents with a unique housing experience for those who are committed to living an alternative and non-exclusive lifestyle through the Friday night events. Yet the only experience the FRED can guarantee is living like a skid-row tenant.

Amongst the building’s numerous problems, the lack of hot water, or sometimes water at all, is the most prominent issue as it leaves residents with little to no options for showering. Sadly, the isolated location of the Summit buildings leaves the closest residential neighbors as the freshmen dorms. Gabriela Flores ’26, FRED resident, states, “No way I’m begging a freshie just to take a shower.” But the continuous lack of water leaves the residents increasingly desperate with some driving all the way to the northern side of campus just to feel anything but the ice-cold spray. Unfortunately, this desperate situation seems to be a recurring one, as the hot water was gone entirely for five days in September. Oct. 19 marks the 10 day anniversary of the ice-cold (or lukewarm at best) water situation. This has driven some residents to be involved in a high-stakes betting pool, where they try to guess which week the water will be out next month. By consulting various astrological charts, previous patterns and the sound of the pipes, it has been predicted that Thanksgiving week will be the next time of the outage. But that is only if the hot water ever decides to come back on.

Upsettingly, the numerous work orders did not seem to make a significant enough statement until a fed-up resident sent an email to Housing, Facilities, Deans John Selders, Robert Lukaskiewicz and Jody Goodman, Sheila Copperthite and President Joanne Berger-Sweeney (President Berger-Sweeney did not respond, for those who are wondering). The email initially looked like it raised some action, but the very few staff members who did respond to the email seemed to have given the FRED residents false hope. The water pressure and hot water are still non-existent, and the grim situation was made worse when it was discovered that one of four dryers was broken by a resident, leaving the entire building with only two washers and two functioning dryers.

Summit East, or the gift that keeps on giving, as affectionately dubbed by its residents, has a host of problems, as stated above, that deserve the spotlight as much as the hot water issue. The cherry on the top is the ice box that is the building’s air conditioning. Once the object of envy, the FRED’s air conditioning is so intense that many of the residents are begging to have it turned off. My Dong ’26, FRED resident, voices her pain as she states, “I take showers like I’m in a developing country only to step out into a freezer at full blast.” However, one of the more worrying issues is the halfhearted electric sockets. The FRED is composed of three floors of three quads each and two floors of just singles. Some quads report that the electric sockets in their living room and bathroom like to go for a milk run at times. This means that the quad residents have to haul anything from hair dryers and electric shavers to coffee machines and their fridges to their rooms if they want any use of their plug-in appliances. Speaking of electrical issues, the elevators are just as unreliable as the electric sockets and water. While it is a much less frequent issue, the constant possibility of trekking up to six floors is an uneasy reminder of the modern man’s codependency on modern luxuries. If that isn’t enough, the stink bug infestation is a loving reminder that Mother Nature is only a vent, a window and a crack away. It also seems that the musty smell that graces the FRED from time to time is more than one of the quirks of the building. Elarios E. Drakontaidis ’26 and his quad mates are in a lengthy battle with a particularly nasty mold infestation, and there have been reported silverfish sightings in the FRED library and common area.

So now the question remains: what is Trinity College’s response to these unsafe and degrading living conditions? The safe answer to that question would be ‘nothing.’ None of the issues at hand have been fixed, and there seem to be no updates besides the initial follow-up email from Astor Pagan, Director of Facilities, and Copperthite, Director of the Bantam Network and Residential Experiences. The initial faith held by residents that Trinity College would care enough to fix these issues has gone out the window. Naïve hope has turned to anger and frustration as one anonymous member of the FRED asks, “So they can spare money to plant flowers and the Bicentennial events, but we’re too much?” Another also states, “Instead of trying to impress parents and visitors, they should raise the quality of life of students.”

With all the options seemingly exhausted, residents are scratching their heads for further solutions. However, at this point, the situation hangs solely on Trinity College’s willingness to fix the problem. So, by putting enormous amounts of faith and trust in our First Amendment rights, hopefully, this article will finally stir the action that is needed and spread the word that this funky-shaped building has some less-than-desirable qualities.

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