February 24, 2012

Brainstorming new options for decorating rooms

Several student senate committees have brought up the prospect of granting students more freedom in decorating their living spaces.

Freshman Residential Quality of Life Committee member Payton Rose indicated that the idea for semi-permanent room decorations has been a topic of conversation since the beginning of winter term. The proposal gained momentum as students approached ResQual Chair Ellen Jackson with support.

“A number of students have approached Ellen … and we all think it’s a great idea. The general idea is just giving kids more freedom to kind of spice up their dorm room; I mean make it how they want to make it, ” Rose said.

Students have been restricted in how they can decorate their rooms for some time, according to Director of Facilities Services Scott Maust. The restrictions are due to the low year-after-year return rate of students to the same rooms, allowing for little more than decorations that can easily be taken down.

“That’s exactly what it’s been, the sticky putty, tape and stuff because when a student vacates the room at the end of the year, nine times out of ten, they don’t return to that same room,” Maust said.

The use of permanent decorations in individual rooms would also present a logistical problem, as each room would require more attention during the summer preparations made for incoming students.

“The other thing is, is that at the end of the summer we need all of them [the decorations] down and stuff because we clean the walls, we paint the walls [and] we get it ready for the next year, where if all of that was left we wouldn’t be able to do that,” Maust said.

As a result of the problems surrounding the painting of individual rooms, both Maust and Rose expressed interest in opening decorating options in suite common areas.

“I guess what I would rather see is, maybe instead of concentrating so much on the rooms, let’s talk about the suite areas. You know, what kind of neat things could we do in the suite areas that could be carried over from year to year? That’s why we would need some guidelines. We definitely wouldn’t want to paint obscenities, but if you had some really nice looking artwork or murals that could be left from year to year that wouldn’t offend somebody else coming in, that could be a possibility,” Maust said.

Rose listed a number of options that are currently in the consideration process. The current goal is to find a middle ground between the permanence of paint and short-lived poster and tape arrangements.

“A various number of ideas have come up, from trying to get student art in dorm rooms to letting students paint their dorms, to large peg boards of some sort, and basically we’re trying to narrow that down. However, the painting of individual rooms has basically been entirely ruled out,” he said.

Though support for the proposal is apparent among students and senate members alike, the problem that remains is simply choosing which option to attempt. Rose indicated that plans are to institute one of the ideas during fall term of the 2012-2013 academic year.

“What we are trying to push is the ability of suites to be able to paint their common area, and we’re getting some pretty positive feedback on that, so we’re hoping that might happen. We’re also looking at the installation of chalkboard paint in some of the suites, and it looks like that might really happen too. Obviously all of this stuff is still in discussion, so I don’t want to say 100 percent, but if I were to pick something that was going to happen, it would be that,” Rose said.

Julian Boireau
Julian Boireau is a senior majoring in international relations and minoring in French. This is his fourth year working for TKS, having served as co-news editor during his sophomore and junior years. He has been involved in journalism for seven years, serving as opinions editor of the newspaper and editor-in-chief of the literary magazine at Palisades Charter High School in Los Angeles, California. In September 2012, Julian received press credentials to attend the annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative in New York City, where he reported on remarks by President Barack Obama and GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney. He is also the recipient of back-to-back first place awards from the Illinois College Press Association for front page layout.

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