A month into the school year, students have settled into their residence halls and started their classes in earnest. However, for many, the woes of the move-in process have persisted. Students continue to experience severe issues with their university-sponsored residences, from broken plumbing to mold. Many students have faced long wait times for assistance, while some receive no help at all. These problems leave students frustrated, inconvenienced and concerned about possible health implications.
In response to the consistent issues with timely facilities requests, the Editorial Board urges the university to improve the efficiency of the work order system by hiring additional facilities staff and making basic supplies available to students in order to preserve resources for tasks that students are capable of safely addressing themselves.
According to a university spokesperson, Georgetown Facilities works expeditiously to resolve maintenance issues submitted by students, though response times are dependent on request volumes.
“The safety, health and well-being of our students is our highest priority. We work through every request as diligently and expeditiously as possible. Over the past several weeks we have welcomed more than 5,000 students on campus and encourage any student with a maintenance request to report it by submitting a work request to Facilities,” the university spokesperson wrote in an email to The Hoya. “Response times are dependent on the volume of campus activities and the capacity of the Facilities trade teams.”
While the Facilities webpage details the process for work order response, many students have faced extended wait times and unhelpful communication after submitting work orders.
Roommates Jaida Forbes (COL ’24) and Sokhna Gueye (NHS ’24), whose microwave broke earlier this month, have had difficulty communicating with facilities to receive assistance for a work order they placed regarding the issue on Sept. 10.
“Our built-in microwave broke a few weeks ago now and despite submitting multiple work orders and calling various times, we are nowhere closer to getting it fixed,” Forbes wrote to The Hoya.
Gueye said that after being informed over the phone that they would receive a new microwave by Sept. 12, they received no help and only gained more information from facilities after placing additional work orders and phone calls.
“We were told that the microwave was on order but still were not given a timeline for when we could expect it. Then in a phone call approximately 5 days later, we were told that it hadn’t been ordered and that they were waiting for the supervisor to approve the order,” Gueye wrote to The Hoya.
Residential issues have become a source of health-related anxiety for some students. In a Sept. 30 news piece, Kat DeMaret (SFS ‘24) told The Hoya that she and her roommates have been suffering from allergy-like symptoms and suspect that the culprit may be a hole in the ceiling which resulted from a leak and was not fixed for nearly a month.
“My roommates and I have all been experiencing allergy-like symptoms (coughing, sneezing, dry itchy eyes, sore throats) and any visitors in our apartment have started experiencing them after a few hours there as well,” DeMaret wrote to The Hoya.
While the connection between facilities issues and student health is uncertain, the prospect of health implications is a clear mental health burden for students who worry about the consequences of mold or open ceilings in their residences.
Incomplete or incorrectly handled work order requests — an issue some students still continue to experience — do little to assuage these anxieties. Anaya Mehta (COL ’25) still lives with a leak in her dorm ceiling, despite her work order for mold removal and leakage being accepted on Aug. 24 and closed on Aug. 29.
“Within two days of moving in, I discovered a huge leakage on my ceiling and mold in the air conditioner and filed a work order as soon as I could,” Mehta told The Hoya. “They cleaned the mold, but the leakage is still there because they said they couldn’t find its source. The work order was then closed.”
Her second work order addressing the leakage again, along with a broken air conditioner, was also closed on Aug. 31, and even though the AC unit was fixed, the leakage still remains.
Issues like DeMaret’s and Mehta’s suggest that facilities may be short-staffed or lacking the resources or infrastructure necessary to effectively fix residential issues in a timely manner. In order to facilitate efficiency in responding to work orders and creating a safe living environment for students, the university must hire additional facilities staff.
Notably, work orders that require professional assistance, such as mold removal, and those that could be safely addressed by students, such as placing mouse traps, are funneled through the same system. One way to mitigate the burden on facilities is to offer students access to materials to remedy minor issues on their own. For example, allowing students to borrow a fan or a mousetrap at no cost would conserve time and resources for both the university and the students while fixing minor issues more quickly. This would reduce the influx of work orders to be addressed by facilities employees, allowing employees to dedicate time and resources to repairing urgent issues more quickly.
At a university where students are required to live on-campus for three years, protecting the functionality of student residences should receive greater prioritization. Growing the facilities staff and offering students additional resources are critical first steps.
The Hoya’s editorial board is composed of six students and is chaired by the opinion editors. Editorials reflect only the beliefs of a majority of the board and are not representative of The Hoya or any individual member of the board.
hoya 2010 says
glad to see nothing’s changed!