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Wednesday, December 07, 2022
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Students reflect on ‘isolating’ experience of living on South Campus

<p>Students who lived in Goodyear Hall last year voiced concerns regarding food, transportation and isolation.</p>

Students who lived in Goodyear Hall last year voiced concerns regarding food, transportation and isolation.

When Lyn Karrick moved into Goodyear Hall at the start of the fall 2021 semester, she was thrown off by the dirty tile floors and beige cinder block walls that made up her new home for the next two semesters. But she was determined to make the best of the situation.

For hours, the then-freshman Spanish major dusted, organized and hung up decorations, desperate to make her space feel cozy. 

But her efforts were useless. Karrick says even after hours of arduous work,  her South Campus dorm still felt like a “jail cell.” 

“It messed with my mental health honestly,” Karrick said. “You’re separated from the rest of campus as it is, and on top of it your dorm looks like it’s a hospital room. The worst part is there was literally nothing I could do about it.” 

Karrick isn’t the only student who reports having a poor experience living in Goodyear Hall. Residents from the 2020-21 and 2021-22 academic years reported a variety of problems from unreliable transportation, dorm cleanliness, lack of food options and isolation. 

Hope for Goodyear Hall upgrades lives amidst the active South Campus reconstruction, which is scheduled to be done by this summer. But Karrick says these renovations are long overdue.

“I’m glad they’re finally upgrading the place,” Karrick said. “I just wish it wouldn’t have been the year after I lived there and paid to live somewhere that was outdated and dirty.”

The Spectrum interviewed other previous Goodyear residents to discuss their experiences living on South Campus prior to the renovations.

Unreliable transportation

The Stampede operated under a reduced schedule during the fall semester of last year, cutting back 25% of its trips due to a staffing issue. 

South Campus residents bore the brunt of the reduced schedule, with only up to three buses running to South Campus at a time. 

Jennifer Reyes, a sophomore linguistics and education major, says that while living in Goodyear last year, she spent a lot of time waiting for the bus to take her to North Campus, where the majority of her friends and classes were. 

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Reyes says that now, as a Greiner resident, she can enjoy her free time in her dorm between classes.

“Last year I really wasn’t allowed to because it would be an entire field trip just to get back [to my dorm],” Reyes said. “I made sure to leave for North and wouldn’t go back until the end of the day.”

Ally Yang, a sophomore occupational therapy major and past resident of Goodyear Hall, says that while she enjoyed frequenting the nearby stores on South Campus, the bus ride to and from North Campus everyday was a hassle.

“I loved being close to a bunch of stores within walking distance, but the trip to North Campus everyday was a lot,” Yang said. 

Karrick worked four to five days a week last year at North Campus’ Tim Hortons. Some of Karrick’s shifts would start at 7 a.m. She would wait for the Stampede by 5:30 a.m. and was still sometimes late because the bus didn’t show.

“It would be freezing cold out, and I’d wait at the bus stop for so long to the point where any exposed skin would crack open and bleed,” Karrick said. “And somehow I’d still be late because the buses never came when they were supposed to.”

Brian Haggerty, the senior associate director for Residential Life, said in an email to The Spectrum that there aren’t current plans to change the transportation system, specifically between North and South Campus. He added that UB will monitor “ridership trends” and make the “appropriate adjustments for next academic year.”

Lack of food options and resources

South Campus is surrounded by fast-food restaurants and grocery stores, all within walking distance of Goodyear Hall.

But many students — including all first-year students living on campus — have already invested hundreds or thousands of dollars into meal plans that can only be used on campus.

Goodyear Hall had one food court that served the same breakfast, lunch and dinner menus every day, aside from special occasions. 

If South Campus residents craved variety, they had to make the 25-minute round trip to North Campus or pay for different food out of pocket. 

Karrick, a vegetarian, says there were only a handful of meatless options at Goodyear, and not many were nutritional. 

“Nearly everything had meat and my only accessible substitute, other than tofu once a week, was cheese,” Karrick said. “There were some nights when I was too tired from work to go back to North to get food, but I didn’t want dining hall food. So I just wouldn’t eat. I started feeling really sick by the second semester and even considered eating meat again to get my nutrition back up.” 

More food wasn’t the only thing previous residents wished they’d had on South Campus. 

Jamelia Duncan, a sophomore criminology major, didn’t own a car when she lived in Goodyear. She says the lack of resources was hard to live with.

“North Campus had all the food spots, tutoring places and gyms,” Duncan said. “While South Campus [Goodyear] only had our dining hall. We had a gym that was opened halfway through the semester and it closed early. Tutoring only catered to math or science, which wasn’t even helpful for me.”

Haggerty says that the Goodyear Dining Center has recently undergone upgrades to its kitchen equipment. But there are no active plans to add new restaurants with more vegan or vegetarian options. Haggerty told The Spectrum that Campus Dining and Shops already “has vegetarian and vegan options in all their dining centers.”

Karrick also says that the elevator had consistent mechanical issues.

“It was almost a guarantee that at least one elevator would break every week,” Karrick said. “Sometimes I’d try to take one up to my room but I’d give up after waiting like 20 minutes and realizing they weren’t working. I lived on the seventh floor.”

Isolation

In order to see friends, go to class, or attend events, Goodyear students had to wait for an inconsistent Stampede bus that included long, bumpy rides with many stops to North Campus.

Reyes says that this was the hardest part about living on South Campus.

“There are many people on this campus compared to South where you barely see people,” Reyes said. “So if you’re a people person like me, then Goodyear Hall isn’t for you.”

Karrick says this  isolation prevented her from making friends during her freshman year. 

“It was lonely, especially when the weather started getting bad and you don’t want to wait in three feet of snow for the bus,” Karrick said. “We were literally located next to the quarantine dorms. If that doesn’t tell you how isolating South Campus is, I don’t know what does.”

Clement Hall, the only other dorm building located on South, housed students infected with COVID-19 as a quarantine dorm during the 2021-22 academic year. No students lived there long-term. 

“Not only did I feel like it was really hard to branch out and meet new people who didn’t live in Goodyear, but also I had a lot of anxiety about being right across the street from that many sick students.”

Karrick says that Goodyear Hall residents were not made aware that they would be living so close to quarantine dorms prior to move-in.

“Someone asked at our first ever floor meeting why Clement was empty, the hall director told us that it was because not enough people signed up for on-campus housing,” Karrick said. “I later found out that that wasn’t true.”

Haggerty says that the renovations to South Campus are not the result of student complaints received from the university and instead reflect outdated features that need to be upgraded.

“Campus Living is renovating the South Campus residence halls as part of its overall capital plan to reinvest in the student residential experience,” Haggerty said. “There are no specific concerns or complaints that were received that prompted our renovations.” 

UB relies on previous satisfaction surveys completed by students in order to receive student comments or concerns, according to Haggerty.

Those surveys revealed that “students living in South Campus residence halls are about as satisfied or are comparable to their peers with their sense of belonging,” he said.

Of the seven students interviewed by The Spectrum, only Reyes said she would consider living there again after these seemingly necessary renovations to Goodyear are completed. 

“There would need to be a lot of upgrades,” Reyes said.

Kayla Estrada is a senior news/features editor and can be reached at kayla.estrada@ubspectrum.com  


KAYLA ESTRADA
IMG_5050 (2).jpg

Kayla Estrada is a senior news/features editor at The Spectrum. She is an English major who enjoys rainy weather, “Bob’s Burgers” and asking people who they voted for. When she’s not writing, she can be found hunting for odd-looking knick-knacks at the nearest thrift store.  

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