Student Life Archives (2001-2008)

Mental Bloc

As has become the yearly tradition at Washington University, Brookings has announced that it will raise tuition yet again. While this has come to be expected, and makes sense on some levels for a college striving to improve its facilities and educational offerings, there are ways in which the administration should be more fiscally responsible.

Wash. U. has been blessed with the ability to offer its students a vast variety of experiences, but in some cases, in order to do this, it seems the University has neglected to consider the importance of the cash it expends in these endeavors and its value to the students. A prime example of such waste is the new bloc housing program in the Village. While it’s nice for the school to be able to say to potential freshmen that such a program is offered, at this point the program is primarily groups of friends who want to live together without going through the housing process. These people then come up with a themed interest and attempt to organize events. The way the program is advertised to underclassmen specifically encourages this type of behavior. The Village coordinators, who go around advertising the program to those living in University housing, tell students such facts as if they get three friends who like movies, Wash. U. will pay for their tickets. Though this is, once again, a nice gesture from the University, it is not a program that adequately takes into account the importance of this money to students and, though the program is currently small, under the guidelines, it has the potential to drain a lot of money that students put into their housing fees without providing a real benefit to most of the student population. It is fine for the University to have bloc-housing, but it needs to make sure that the guidelines for how money is spent are stricter than they’re advertised to be, in order to ensure that bloc-housing actually provides some unique opportunity for students as a whole.

If bloc-housing were the only program of this sort, there would be no problem. But it is through the culmination of so many similar programs that the cost really begins to add up. The University has taken some steps in the right direction by taking a close look at the Peer Advising Program and deciding to cut its funding. Students should be able to expect that the administration will understand how important the money they charge families can be and that while some families have enough money to spare, others are scraping it together and taking out loans to afford tuition. In order to show a greater respect to these families, the University should reconsider the necessity of its programs and whether or not they are used for their intended purposes. Moderation in these decisions is key. While the University cannot be faulted for wanting to spend money to let students go out to dinner, it needs to understand that sometimes the choice whether to spend that money on dinner or keep it at home should reside with individual students who better know their circumstances.

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