Students stay behind over breaks

Roberto Hodge, Multicultural Editor

During the Thanksgiving and winter breaks, more than half of Eastern’s 8,000 students flee the campus pavement for their homes, but each year a small amount opt to stay for different reasons.

Mark Hudson, the director of Housing and Dining, said 49 students stayed in the residence halls over winter vacation: five Resident Assistants, one international student and about 38 student-athletes.

One RA, Sheldon Aaron, who has stayed on campus during breaks before, said the stay is quite relaxing and different from normal RA duties.

Aaron said there are no required programs or door decks that need to be done. Also, rounds only needed to be done twice, so he did them once in the morning and then the night.

Depending on the location of the break, Aaron said rounds of patrolling the building every two hours might have to be completed differently. Duty is also completed with another professional staff member, Aaron said.

Because not many students were on campus, and class was not in session, Aaron said he mainly slept and watched a lot of TV.

“It’s very, very chill,” Aaron said.

Hudson said of those 49, some were in the residence halls, others in University Court and University Apartments with each having a separate staff. Some of the students stay within the University Apartments as a permanent residence, which are contracted differently.

“It’s not marketed like the residence halls,” Hudson said.

Hudson said the University Apartments are usually more for students who are older, such as graduate and married students.

Despite the students being able to stay on campus during the vacation weeks, there is an additional cost of $80 a week, which does not include dining.

Because not enough students remain on campus during the vacation weeks, the dinning halls are all closed and students must find food from local stores and restaurants, but the food court is open for a small amount of times during the beginning and before the end of the break, Hudson said.

“There’s just not enough people here to take over the service,” Hudson said.

Hudson said the students may also keep their own rooms, but only if they live within the Lincoln, Stevenson, Douglas and Thomas residence halls. Some students can request a specific building to stay in for the break, but only if they are open—these specific halls are open because there is security and safety issues that must be followed.

“If you’re in a building by yourself and you fall down the stairs, who’s going to help you?” Hudson said.

Hudson said while a building is closed, the temperature is lowered to 55 degrees in order to conserve utility rates and there is also not enough staff present.

“Typically during break we kinda loose money,” he said.

Even though the buildings remain at 55 degrees, some pipes still freeze at certain parts of the campus like Thomas, Taylor and Stevenson; however, Hudson said the freezing is always anticipated and the plumbers know where pipe freezing will most likely happen.

Roberto Hodge can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].