Wilf Campus Housing Office Holds First Ever Open Forum
On November 20, the Wilf Campus Housing Office held an open forum in which new initiatives for housing this year were introduced and residents of housing were offered an opportunity to share their thoughts on resident life. Jonathan Schwab, the Director of University Housing and Residence Life for the Wilf Campus, led the open forum.
The event was the first of its kind for the office and roughly 30 students attended the event, a third of which were Resident Advisors. The forum began with Schwab sharing new initiatives the office began this year, including new “floor shabbatons,” in which residents of every floor in the dorms will have their own miniature shabbaton with their floormates on campus over the course of the year with separate meals and activities over shabbat. Schwab also stated that the housing office is evaluating the viability of installing microwaves and mini fridges into some or all dorm rooms on campus, which could potentially lead to a raised housing fee.
The majority of the 50-minute long forum was dedicated to hearing suggestions from residents, which ranged from recommendations on how to expand floor parties and events to complaints about dorm heaters and laundry machines, among many other topics.
The event was well received by attendees, who felt that they they had ample opportunity to give input. According to YC student Doniel Weinreich, “Lots of students seem to have questions, suggestions, and issues they'd like to raise with all kinds of things related to campus life, but don't know where or how to raise them, or are otherwise inhibited. Open fora like this don't just give students the opportunity to raise their points, they actively seek the students' feedback. I think the event was a success.”
According to Schwab, the idea of holding an open forum for housing residents was suggested by an RA as another way of offering students who live in the dorms an opportunity to provide feedback. He said he felt the event “went really well...it was really helpful that people did come and give us important feedback.” Schwab also stated that he is following up on many issues and suggestions raised in the forum, and noted that the feedback he got during the event led him to prioritize certain issues that were discussed, such as showers in the dorms.
Schwab said he plans on holding open forums of this kind in future semesters, emphasizing that residents are encouraged to give him feedback at any time. In another move to hear students’ thoughts, the housing office has distributed surveys to all dorm residents to analyze how they have enjoyed their experience in housing and other floor events.