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Bringing Closure to the Holiday Season

What are the consequences of staying at the residence hall over break and how do these consequences compare to other institutions?

Students living in the new residence hall have their key fobs deactivated over the holidays. During the school term, residents are provided with electronic key fobs that allow them to open the doors to the residence hall. In accordance with the terms and conditions of residency, the hall closes over school breaks and residents are encouraged to return to their homes for the duration of the closure. This results in the temporary deactivation of the residents’ key fobs.

Closure of the residence hall does not mean that residents are not permitted under any circumstances to stay over a school break. The staff at the residence hall recognizes that not everyone is able to go home during every break.

Stephanie Bilbrey, marketing and summer conferences coordinator, said, “If we get requests (to stay in the residence hall over a break), we’re not going to tell those individuals to go find somewhere else to go.”

Residents who do request to stay over breaks are equipped with activated key fobs and are charged $20 to their student accounts per night.

Paul Wheeler, assistant director of housing and residence life, says, “That money goes into the general budget for the housing/residence-life operation, and is folded into our operational costs.”

According to COCC’s website, a three-term residency will cost between $10,550 and $13,270 varying by room situations and meal plans. These rates are planned under the assumption that students will return home for school breaks.

Bilbrey added that it “wouldn’t be equitable or fair for us (the residence hall staff) to charge students for a duration of time that they are not staying with us. That $20 a day covers the expenses associated with the utilities and the staff.”

Living on campus for three terms at Oregon State University (OSU) in Corvallis costs between $5,205 and $12,063, according to the institution’s website. These prices do not include a meal plan, unlike the prices for COCC’s residence hall.

OSU’s website maintains, “All OSU residence halls remain open over holiday breaks.”

Living on campus for three terms at Portland State University (PSU) costs between $5,205 and $9,840, according to Portland State’s website. These rates, like OSU’s rates, also do not include meal plans.

PSU’s housing contract states, “If Resident lives in University Housing continuously from one academic quarter through the next, any break between quarters will not incur charges.”

 

What can students who stay over a school break expect?

COCC’s dining service is not available during breaks. Students who elect to stay at the residence hall over a break are required to find their own food. Hunting deer on campus is illegal according to Oregon law, but there are grocery stores and restaurants on the westside of Bend.

“The community kitchen is available for them (the residents who stay over a break) to use,” Paul Wheeler said.

Residents will not be left completely unattended if they stay during a break. Residence Life Coordinator Dan Brock or a community assistant will check in with students who stay at the residence hall, according to Paul Wheeler.

Regarding the safety of students who choose to stay, Campus Public Safety will maintain a 24-hour presence over school breaks, and the residence hall features security cameras at every entry, according to Paul Wheeler.

Gabrielle Norman, a student resident says, “I feel really safe. They did a really good job with that (the key fob system).”

 

Erik Nordin | The Broadside
(Contact: enordin@cocc.edu)

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