UH dorms are not worth the rising price tags

Minimalist art of a roach in a puddle of dirty water over a brown background

Jose Gonzalez-Campelo/The Cougar

As time goes on, the costs of living on campus are only rising. Despite this, there are glaring issues with the dorms that show no signs of being fixed, and with the fall semester on the way it’s becoming increasingly difficult to justify these prices.

Situated in the largest city of the second largest state in the country, UH is home to thousands of students not only from across the country, but from 137 different countries.

With such a diverse student body, many students opt to stay in dorms. For many, dorms allow students the comfort of walking to classes. For others, dorms are a necessity, especially for commuting students whose residences are far from campus.

Whether out of convenience or necessity, around 6000 students live on campus. Regardless of their reasoning, these students are often shelling out thousands of dollars on dorms, and they are only expected to get pricier in the future.

For example, during the Fall 2021 and Spring 2022 semesters, a four-bed one-bathroom room at The Quad cost $4,250 per semester. That same room will cost $4,610 a semester during Fall 2024 and Spring 2025.

However, that is not all for some students. Those living in Cougar Villages I and II, Moody Towers, Cougar Place and The Quad are required to purchase a 24/7 Silver Meal Plan at minimum.

Like the dorms, meal plan costs are also expected to increase over time. During the Fall 2022 to Spring 2023 year, the 24/7 Silver Meal Plan cost $2,640 a semester, but this same plan will cost $2,940 during the Fall 2024 to Spring 2025 year.

As students are soon going to pay over $7,550 per year just to stay in a dorm, this begs the question: are these price hikes worth it? According to many students, the answer is no, and those living in Building Three of The Quad can especially attest to this.

Normally, the average resident of The Quad lives with three other roommates. However, for those who live on the first floor of Building Three, they may have to share the space with some unwelcome guests.

“Whenever I enter my building at The Quad, it is a surprise if I don’t see two or three roaches on the way to my room, whether alive or dead,” said senior Grayson Dayries. “I live on the first floor of Building Three, and the roaches in this location are by far the worst.”

During the beginning of the Fall 2023 and end of the Spring 2024 semesters, the first floor of The Quad Building Three was plagued with roach infestations. To be fair, the problems seem to affect only one floor of one building, but they were too severe even for the floor’s RA.

“The RA for my floor had her room closest to the exit and the roaches became so much of a problem that she had to move out,” Dayries said. “The roach problem here seems inevitable, as I am under the impression that they’ve tried many different sprays and traps, to no avail.”

To add on to Building Three’s woes, residents also had to deal with a water issue on February 10.

On the left, a water bottle filled halfway with milky white water. On the right, a running faucet with brown water pooling in the sink below.

Left: Discolored Tap Water from The Quad. Right: Tap Water from The Quad Bathroom|Calvin Nguyen/The Cougar.

“During this time in February, I used water bottles instead of the bathroom sink whenever I needed to brush my teeth and water my face,” Dayries said. “This was a point in time when I wasn’t drinking as much water due to it being contaminated and my main source of water coming from my Brita.”

Whether the water was contaminated that day is up to interpretation. The milky color in the left image was likely caused by a crack in the water pipes that allowed air to seep in, which is not a contaminant, though the same could not be said for the residue left behind in the photo to the right.

Regardless, residents were ordered not to use the tap water for the entire day. Once the notice was rescinded, housing staff member Chelsea Titus sent an email that recommended running the tap for a few minutes to filter out the “sediment.”

With all this in mind, it comes as a shock to some students that housing and mandatory meal plan prices are to increase, even as roaches invade their space and tap water turns brown.

“The increase in price doesn’t make any sense to me as the quality of living isn’t increasing also,” Dayries said. “If the school cannot find a way to keep the roaches out, they must lower the price for The Quad dorms, or if not that, at least the first-floor buildings that occupy roaches.”

Calvin Nguyen is a journalism junior that can be reach at [email protected]

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