Mismatched Townhouses

As a freshman at Marist, all residential students have to live in one of the five dorms: Champagnat, Leo, Sheahan, Midrise, or Marian. All of the normal double-student dorms in Champagnat look relatively the same regarding shape, size, wall space, furniture, etc. This trend is the same for Leo, and for Sheahan and so on, however, the list ends when freshman year wraps up because the sophomore townhouses are all completely different from one another. The rooms within the townhouses are all their own unique shapes and sizes, making the housing selection process confusing.

Here at Marist, we can expect our houses to be excellent, especially in comparison to the housing at other colleges and universities. Therefore, the following complaints are not out of anger, but rather confusion. I simply do not understand why each townhouse has a completely different layout, and why no one tells us this on the housing tours. We all know that room A in each of the townhouses is massive, but the extent of the excess space varies per house. In some buildings room A could fit 3-4 people, but in others, it’s only slightly more spacious than the other rooms. For payment purposes this does not seem fair. In a room that could fit 3 students, the two living there would normally be paying more than two students in the same house who are in a room that just fits them. If these houses were representative of apartments or rental situations in the “real world,” the pay would reflect the space received. Then for the other rooms: bedrooms, kitchens, living rooms, etc. the configuration differs in each house as well. Other oddities include: having two completely different refrigerators in the same kitchen, different counter tops in the two bathrooms in the same house, random alcove-type spaces that are not big enough to fit the accompanying furniture, and four-foot cabinets without any shelves.


From my personal experience, these seemingly random configurations and sizing discrepancies can cause stress. When my friends and I went on the housing tour, we fell in love with the Lower New Townhouse that we saw. We adored the location and community-feel of the area, and size of the house, itself. We immediately knew that this was the housing area for us, but then we had to decide who would take which rooms. We came up with a system for who would choose when, and my roommate and I picked our desired room first based on what we had seen on the tour. We wanted the one room out of the three on the top floor that was by itself on one end of the hallway because we constantly play music and did not want to bother our other friends, so we chose room C. Then, once we had committed to our home on housing selection day, we went to the house and asked the current residents if we could check it out. My roommate and I then realized that the room that we picked was not on its own side and was a strange shape that would not allow for all of the furniture to fit without blocking the window. If we had seen the floor plan of that particular house, we would not have selected the room that we did.


These differences caught us off-guard because we were under the impression that all the townhouses within the same residential area would be the same layout, but that is not the case. Therefore, it would be helpful if the floor plans of each house could be posted on the Marist housing website. Students could then account for the changes in each home when they select their house on housing selection day, and they could know the size of their room when determining what to bring with them in the fall. For collegiate purposes, it seems odd that the architect who planned the townhouses at Marist would choose to create so many different layouts, when most college housing strives to be identical because of the problems that can be derived if students or their parents deem something unfair. Despite all of these small concerns, however, we are very fortunate to have the housing that Marist has made available to us, regardless of the multitude of refrigerator types in the same kitchen or how many additional imaginary people could fit in the overly spacious rooms.

Jennifer BradfordComment