‘They told us to shower in the gym’: Students discuss the issues of living in university housing

Students discuss their inconveniences with the lack of renovated housing facilities while residing on campus.

Nadia Gordon, Contributing Writer

The turnaround time for maintenance requests is said to be 24-48 hours, according to Mel Perez, associate director for Housing and Residential Education. But it took senior political science major, Ashley Johnson and her roommates two months and two requests to get a new toilet seat. 

“The paint was peeling and it was rusted,” Johnson said. “One of my roommate’s parents called and complained and then they did it the next day.” 

Built in 1995, University Village Apartments (UVA) is the second oldest residential building after Algonquin Hall, which was demolished in 2019 to build Atlantic Park Towers. The university plans to demolish UVA in the fall of 2024 to create a new dorm. But in the meantime, students have had to endure the effects of the old construction. 

Over a month ago, Johnson said there was a pipe burst in UVA. The burst affected three buildings and resulted in no running water. 

“We couldn’t use the shower for like two days, and they told us to go to the gym to take showers if we had to,” Johnson said. “We couldn’t cook food or anything like that because we didn’t have water.” 

Johnson said the problem was fixed in two days, but that doesn’t take away from the inconvenience. 

“They can easily get donations from people and they just choose to use it on athletics and other things like that,” said Johnson. “Rather than actual, basic human rights of secure living.” 

Freshman musical theatre major, Toni Keene lives in Parliament Hall. She said her issues with the laundry rooms mainly revolve around a lack of courtesy from other residents, but she has experienced other problems with the machines themselves. 

“One of the washers here in Parliament has mold in it and it has yet to be fixed,” said Keene. “Some of them are broken.” 

Regarding the lack of trash pick-up and cleanliness, Keene said she has seen many unsanitary items in the machines. 

“There was actually a dirty pantyliner in one of the washing machines one time,” said Keene. “I don’t remember who did it, but somebody came in and got it out of there, but there’s always stuff like that.”

She said for small things like this, she alerts the front desk. But for larger things like broken machines, Keene said she hasn’t reported them because they are a common issue for everyone. 

To report maintenance issues, students can visit FIX IT FAU and select the option that best fits their needs. For facility issues, they are prompted to fill out a form that describes the problem and where it is located. 

Perez said housing relies on students to notify them of residential building issues. 

“If you notice something is not working, please submit something,” said Perez. “Do not assume someone else noticed it or submitted the work order.” 

According to Johnson, the normal laundry cycle at UVA lasts about an hour, but on one occasion her clothes were stuck in the machine for almost two hours. 

“I always set my timers and I went in there and it was stuck on like nine minutes,” said Johnson. “It was just stuck in there and it wouldn’t open.”

Following the Heritage Park Towers South dryer fire, residents are still unable to use the laundry facilities in their buildings.

For the past month, they have been instructed to use the laundry machines on the north side. 

Perez said Housing anticipates the reopening of the South laundry room by the week of Nov. 8. 

However, as of Nov. 17, it is still closed. 

He said residential building front desks are staffed 24/7. Perez stated that for “after-hours” emergencies, employees have contact information for a professional staff member who can reach a maintenance technician. 

“There are times when issues require greater attention or parts, but students are kept informed,” Perez said. “If a work order is declined, notes are also placed stating why. For example: no room number or missing room letter, wrong rooms, etc.”

For more information on how to submit a work order, click here. 

Nadia Gordon is a contributing writer for the University Press. For more information on this article or others, you can reach Nadia at [email protected]