Looking for ways to improve freshman life in a new home at college, freshman and choral music education major Allyson Horvath created a petition on change.org to address student concerns such as issues in some of the residence halls on campus.
The traditional freshman residence halls at the University of Indianapolis include Cravens Hall and Warren Hall, while some freshmen live in other residence halls because they are members of Living Learning Communities (LLC). The petition suggests a need for repairs or updates in the residence halls, and given recent increases in university costs, Horvath said, she is seeking some clarity.
“Overall, I think a lot of students want to see where the money [tuition, room and board and student fees] is going, especially because the dorms are in such need of improvement,” Horvath said.
According to Horvath, many of the residence halls have had recent problems in terms of cleanliness and hot water. Vice President for Student and Campus Affairs and Dean of Students Kory Vitangeli said these concerns were addressed and that she met with Horvath to discuss these problems and ways the university will resolve them. She said the university will handle any issues that persist.
“Whenever there are concerns in the residence halls . . . we immediately have facilities come out and check it many times,” Vitangeli said. “[Sometimes], there are outside contractors that need to come in to repair things . . . . If a student just doesn’t feel comfortable staying in the room, then we will work with them to change rooms.”
Vitangeli said the university is looking to switch the furniture in Crowe Hall and Cory Bretz Hall to movable furniture, similar to that in Warrens Hall and Cravens Hall. She said there are plans to repair Warren Hall’s elevators during the summer.
“We work hard to make sure that we are addressing concerns,” Vitangeli said. “We are looking all the time at long-term facility needs for the residence halls across campus.”
Horvath also said she has discussed the need for the university to be more open about where funds are allocated. She said she wants to see a plan put in place for the buildings.
“I am hoping for more open communication between administration and students—especially [about] where is our money going, what is the tuition [that is] being raised going towards?” Horvath said.
Vitangeli said she is looking to address this issue in the future and wants to implement some better communication and has offered some solutions.
“I am happy to talk to our facilities director and figure out [a solution] . . . whether it’s to host a forum or to publish something and say here is [what], every year, these are all the things we’re doing over the summer because that’s typically when we would do our capital projects,” Vitangeli said.
By creating the petition, Horvath said she provided students with an opportunity to share their thoughts in the comment section of her petition. Students have also voiced their opinions through the comments under a post with a link to the petition Horvath made on the UIndy App.
“It [the petition] has opened up an opportunity, especially with the comment section on the petition, for people to talk about the little things that have been happening,” Horvath said. “It’s [the comments section on the petition] giving people a space to feel like their complaints are being heard.”
Students bring issues to light and have an impact, Vitangeli said. When students bring up the problems, she said, that helps let the administration know about any possible problems on campus.
“We are always looking for ways that we can garner student feedback . . . ” Vitangeli said, “then put that into what we are doing and where we are making changes for facilities improvement.”