Dorm living on a college campus involves more shared space than many fi rst-year students, who have not lived away from home, are used to.
In order for any shared space to be kept in reasonable shape, students must share a sense of collective responsibility for the area. Since dorm bathrooms, furniture, laundry rooms and study rooms are used by everyone, they should be treated reasonably by everyone as well.
Third floor occupant of Ward Hall, Alex Daubert ‘15, weighed in on the issue of communal living. “Since people know they won’t get into any trouble for messing up property, they don’t really care about it,” he said.
Of course, someone who throws a crumpled up ball of paper towels at the garbage will not receive any kind of personal consequence if he or she misses the throw and neglects to pick the garbage up, but why should it matter? Leaving a communal dorm area the way that you found it should be a courtesy to one’s fellow dorm-members and friends, not to mention the cleaning staff.
Second floor occupant of Ward, John Berggren ‘15, elaborated on the previous point by saying, “When the whole floor shares the responsibility for a mess in the bathroom, no one really feels that responsible.”
When the floor of a dorm, a group of students that typically exceeds 50 people, is blamed holistically for mistreating college property, no one person feels it is his or her fault. The lack of guilt experienced by the members of the floor results in no incentive for any change in behavior.
The central issue of public property is respect. It is true that little to no personal consequence will come of mistreating a dorm’s furniture or bathroom, but do you really want to be that person who bills every other floor member to replace that chandelier? The person who makes hardworking cleaning staff members clean up revolting messes in the bathroom? Please, fellow students, do not be that person.