Student Senate discusses potential room and board fee increase

Mark+Hudson%2C+Eastern+Illinois+University%E2%80%99s+executive+director+of+university+housing+and+dining+services+speaks+at+the+Student+Government+meeting+Wednesday+night.+Hudson+talked+about+the+Bond+Revenue+Committee+and+how+it+impacts+students+living+on+campus+for+the+2022-2023+school+year.

Rob Le Cates

Mark Hudson, Eastern Illinois University’s executive director of university housing and dining services speaks at the Student Government meeting Wednesday night. Hudson talked about the Bond Revenue Committee and how it impacts students living on campus for the 2022-2023 school year.

Katja Benz, Campus Reporter

Students living on campus may experience a three percent increase to their room and board fees, which was presented during the Student Senate meeting on Wednesday by Housing and Dining.

Room and board charges are based on the meal plan a student gets and is expected to go up between $140 and $169.

The biggest changes to impact students are the minimum wage increase and the microfridge pilot program. 

The minimum wage will increase from $12 an hour to $13 an hour in Jan. 2023.

Outside of the pilot program and minimum wage increase, room and board costs include other things as well, Mark Hudson, Eastern’s executive director of University Housing and Dining Services, said.

The microfridge pilot program is a two-year program that puts a singular microwave and a mini fridge in a dorm room prior to students moving in and removes it after the students move out of the room for the school year. 

In the program’s first year, Pemberton Hall residents received this at no additional cost in their room and board fees.

The 2022-2023 school year will be the second year in this program, with the microfridges returning to Pemberton Hall and the microfridges being added to all three residence halls in the triad. The microfridges will not be in either any of the South Quad residence halls or the Lincoln, Stevenson, Douglas complex.

If students living in these halls have microwaves or mini fridges from previous years, they can opt out of having an extra microfridge despite the increase. 

The overall response from present Pemberton residents was seemingly positive, despite only 26.6 percent of residents responding to a survey sent out by Housing and Dining Services.

Other parts of the increase are due to remodeling in residence halls. Hudson met with students from Taylor’s Hall Council to discuss new drape styles and bathroom updates.

“We met with the Taylor Hall Council last night to show them plans for future bathroom renovations and get their input on how they would best like to see that happen by having several different versions,” Hudson said. “They gave us very good input. That’s how we try to find out how students are thinking about things. As we increase the amount of dollars we have available to us, then that’s when we’ll be able to move ahead with doing those kinds of projects.”

The increase also includes inflation for food, meaning that the cost of a meal plan would have to rise in price as well. Meal plans will go up between $42 and $69 a semester.

The senate will give their vote to Hudson at the March 30 meeting after multiple senators expressed mixed feelings.

Hudson said he wants the students to benefit from these kinds of programs. 

“We try to do the things that are the most reactive to them to help them that (will be) a more direct benefit to them,” Hudson said.

The senate also discussed where the date rape kits have been placed around campus. The kits have been distributed in the Health Education Resource Center, both the Health and Counseling Centers in the Human Services building and to the Office of Volunteerism.

 

Katja Benz can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]