Opinion: Residence halls should stay open over Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving break has come and gone, and while the break was undoubtedly a relief to many students, residence hall closures added stress to the lives of others. All of the traditional and suite style halls closed over Thanksgiving break, with the exception of Maxcy. While people living off campus or commuting in are not generally affected by this problem, freshman students that have been required to live in residence halls were effectively evicted from their new home for the break. 

While many students choose, on their own, to spend their holiday with family and friends, the closure of campus housing caused undue stress for students to leave at a certain time and to arrive back at a certain time. For many out of state students or international students, this also means paying for expensive plane tickets home for a round trip, leaving only two to three days to stay with their families before they had to return. 

There is a system to take in those that need to stay on campus over break, but it still displaces those students for a weekend. So, instead of being able to enjoy the break in their own comfortable room, they have to register to stay in another dorm. This registration process is mentioned but not clearly described on the housing website, leaving some students to go home or search for other lodgings with friends. 

For the other students living in the dorms that are closing it is sure to be an issue as well. Even students that planned to go home have to be out by Wednesday, Nov. 21 at 10 a.m. and cannot return until Friday, Nov. 23 at 8 p.m. This also caused stress as students without cars have to find transportation sometime in between Tuesday after class and Wednesday before 10 a.m. Additionally, these students have to face the throng of travelers that are also leaving for the holidays and have worry about what to bring home and what to leave at school, whether that be course work that is due over thanksgiving or essential heath materials.

It may make sense to close dorms over Thanksgiving so resident mentors can go home over break. However, allowing them to go home also doesn’t completely hold up, because resident mentors are required to do room checks over the break. Additionally, during Hurricane Florence dorms put into practice a time where there were less staff in the building. Why then, instead of ejecting students from the building, should the dorm not remain open with a staff reduction?

While I agree that residence halls should have the ability to close over the almost month-long winter break, as it gives families enough time to plan transportation and spend time with each other to justify transportation expenses, residence halls should not close during Thanksgiving break because it is unfair to students living on campus, and adds unnecessary stress to their break.

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