Last winter, the Dorm Challenge invited 21 administrators to experience RIT dorm life first hand. Mary-Beth Cooper, vice president for Student Affairs; Howard Ward, assistant vice president for Housing Operations; and RIT President William Destler were among those who supported the idea. Together they braved fire alarms, late bed times, the icy quarter-mile, and meals at Gracie’s. In the end, the administrators left with an idea of what needed to be changed, and here is what has been implemented:
Then: Students complained of a repetitive, limited menu.
Now: Always a subjective experience, the quality of Gracie’s has remained per usual, while some reported changes have been made to expand variety. The jury is still out.
Then: Up to five students could live in one dorm room.
Now: No more than four people are allowed to live in one room. With Global Village coming next fall, these numbers will be reduced.
Inconvenient Bus Routes:
Then: Bus routes would loop around the whole campus and take up to 38 minutes to get students from their residences to their destination.
Now: Different bus routes are set up to ensure that it takes a maximum of seven minutes to get from any on-campus residence to their destination, Park Point included.
Cramped Lounge Sizes:
Then: Lounges that weren’t being used as quads were too small.
Now: The construction of Global Village will allow enough space to remove the need to convert lounges into quads.
Then: Poor or no wireless connection and a limited amount of Ethernet ports provided limited internet connectivity in the residence areas.
Now: Cisco wireless access points provide dependable connections.
With its success, Student Government President Matt Danna plans to make the Dorm Challenge an RIT tradition. Last year, both students and administrators agreed that the amount of time that the faculty and students spent together wasn’t enough. Danna suggested that this year the Dorm Challenge should be extended to four days — possibly from a Wednesday to Sunday — in the winter quarter.
Illustrations by Stu Barnes.