Many students do not miss their days living in a dorm, but for those living in Wilson, it is a special kind of uncomfortable. Students report they have experienced faulty AC and thermostats, bugs in the rooms, lack of maintenance support, and more.
Chief Operating Officer John Hermes said he has not yet heard some of these concerns in Wilson East or West, but the dorms are older and require more attention than the more modern dorms.
Wilson West was built in 1958 and is one of the oldest residence halls, with Wilson East being built shortly afterwards. The Wilson dorms have had some updates, including the balcony and restroom sinks in Wilson West, but the changes have been mostly cosmetic as of late.
Alumnus Matteo Guthrie was on the maintenance staff during the 2020-2021 school year. He said he had fixed issues at Wilson after its latest remodel, but the repairs were not much help. However, he said some would not want Wilson to be rebuilt.
“Donors have fond memories of those dorms and don’t want to see them plowed under in favor of better accommodations,” Guthrie said.
Sophomore Logan Miller currently lives in Wilson East. He said he has noticed consistent problems beyond those which affect quarantined students. He said his air conditioner has been noticeably not working for weeks, and even though he sent in a ticket to get it worked on, nothing has changed.
“Someone said they emailed about it, but when I mentioned this in my ticket, they said they didn’t have any record of getting a ticket for the issue, so I’m not sure what happened there,” Miller said.
Miller said he did receive help on a breaker issue. The maintenance worker also told Miller someone else would check his air conditioning unit, but there have been no updates as of yet.
Miller also said bugs come into the rooms in Wilson often, which was not a problem when Miller was living in Fails or Warlick.
“I’m not exactly sure why they come in so much to the lower level of Wilson and no other dorms,” Miller said. “I think they’re mostly coming in from outside, but there are tons of dead crickets in our dorm and bathroom, as well as spiders, and there are always multiple moths flying around the light in our room.”
Senior Ethan White said he experienced a few bugs as well. Both Ethan White and Junior Trina Kenyon said they experienced problems with the thermostat.
Ethan White said the showers in his quad never had hot water no matter how long it ran.
Hermes said students are welcome to report any concerns they have.
“Maintenance concerns can be directed to Support Central and any other issues can be discussed with the housing staff,” Hermes said. “Both of these teams are eager to assist our students.”
Wilson West has been a quarantine hall for several semesters, although there have been other options depending on the situation. When the fall 2021 semester started, staff intended to quarantine students only in Wilson, but overflow spread to Tinius Hall.
Several students shared their stories about their experiences in Wilson, and none of them were glowing.
Ethan White was quarantined for 10 days in Wilson West after being a confirmed case for COVID-19. He said he had brought some food and cleaning supplies with him, which was fortunate. The lack of a refrigerator was a problem for him as well, Ethan White said, but the lack of available cleaning supplies was difficult when he was ill and had to clean using his own supplies.
Ethan White said he was bothered the most by having to share a bathroom with other people. Although those he shared with were also in quarantine, White said he did not know if they were confirmed or just close contacts.
“I wouldn’t want to run the risk of getting them actually sick because we had to share a bathroom,” Ethan White said.
Junior Trina Kenyon was quarantined for one night in Wilson West. Kenyon said she, too, had to share a bathroom, which was not what she would have wished.
“In Tinius, you have a sink in your own room, which I think for quarantine is especially nice because you can minimize the time you spend in that shared space, and Wilson doesn’t have that,” Kenyon said.
Sophomore Jenna White said she stayed at the Wilson Residence Hall for five days after testing positive. She said her experience was mostly positive, but she did encounter an issue.
“The most inconvenient thing was that the room that I stayed in did not have a refrigerator, so I could not save any of my food if I wasn’t feeling good or didn’t want to eat when they brought it to me,” Jenna White said.
Director of Residence Life Candace Bass said Student Life has been diligent to deliver meals three times a day so they did not have to worry about food. She said students have access to places to get snacks and activities.
“Each building has a kitchenette set up with a mini fridge stocked with water bottles, a microwave, snacks, and activities, such as puzzles, painting, embroidery, and Legos,” Bass said.