Is Georgia Southern Aware of Armstrong Housing Quality?

Is Georgia Southern Aware of Armstrong Housing Quality?

The George-Anne Inkwell recently sent several questions to the Georgia Southern Housing Department regarding the quality and standard of living on the Armstrong Campus. We were sent to Executive Housing Director Peter Blutreich to respond to these questions after Resident Director Jerrod Robinson explained that he would be unable to answer the questions.

I took a particular interest in the University’s response to one of our questions about black mold. We sent the question as follows: Are you aware of the black mold existing in the Compass Point dormitories?

Blutriech’s response is as follows: No, we are not aware of any issues regarding mold in this facility. Should we ever become aware of such, we follow explicit and established protocols to immediately address the issue. If a student ever suspects mold or any other issue and is uncomfortable in their room, we encourage them to let us know, and Georgia Southern will diligently work to resolve the issue, including potentially alternative room options.

This response was a bit infuriating to hear as a student who has resided in a space with black mold for the entire school term, the University did not hold up to this statement. I have submitted over 11 work orders with some about the black mold in my dormitory. This does not include the number of orders submitted by my roommates.

Approximately two weeks ago, my roommates dispatched facilities to clean out the black mold. They ended up leaving more debris and dirt in the bathroom and not entirely eradicating the persistent black mold in the bathroom. My roommates have essentially reached a point where they have adjusted to the black mold and the unsanitary living conditions because the University did not take the complaints seriously. My roommates have also invested in supplies that are supposed to help clear the mold, but because of the expenses and frequent use of the supplies, they felt exhausted from doing what the University was supposed to do.

The CDC stresses that exposure to damp and moldy environments may cause various health effects. Since the impact of mold on people can vary greatly, either because of the amount or type of mold, you cannot rely on sampling and culturing to know your health risk. They explain that the best practice is to remove the mold and work to prevent future growth. The University failed to follow these procedures and has ignored these concerns despite their response to our question.

Another question that we directed to Blutreich was: What resources are available to students who are not satisfied with their housing on the Armstrong campus? His answer was: The student should submit a work order. Upon submittal, Georgia Southern tracks the work order and time it takes to complete the task. If a student is not satisfied with the work completed or the time it took to complete the task, the student should contact their Resident Director or simply come to the Housing Office at Compass Point and let us know.

This was another infuriating answer as it is not consistent with the service that students get provided. As aforementioned, I have submitted over 11 work orders to almost no avail; everything I have submitted to be fixed was either not fixed altogether or went back to not working soon after facilities got dispatched.

It becomes quite burdensome, and you get to a point where you adjust. Insufficiency becomes the norm. That was the situation for my roommates and me. We became complacent with the inadequacy of Compass Point, and we figured that no one cared. Admittedly, we never went to the housing office, but we took every other action that Blutreich listed, and we were never satisfied with the efforts of the housing department.

We were not asking for a luxurious-style condominium, and I am content with average living conditions. Since most of my time is devoted to classwork and my commitments outside of my dorm I just wanted a space absent of bugs, insects, black mold, mildew, or anything else that would negatively affect both my mental and physical health. We literally walked into a dorm with a bathroom that had a hole in the wall.

I would just think that Georgia Southern would provide us with better living conditions because we are humans. I would go as far as to say that we have near animalistic living conditions.

We also asked Blutreich: What are currently the most substantial challenges the housing department faces on the Armstrong campus? He responded: First, as with many employers currently, recruiting more individuals who are passionate about serving the students that can help us expand our already dedicated and hardworking staff is a constant challenge. We are in the process of actively hiring a new campus housing leader at the Armstrong Campus and rounding out the supporting professional staff for the campus. Second, providing facility improvements that enhance the on campus and first year experience for students at the Armstrong while also maintaining affordability for our residential students remains a delicate balance. Georgia Southern is focused on meeting these challenges and incorporating student feedback that improves its processes.

Like all of the other responses, the answer gives off a delusional attitude. I can attest that I have never encountered someone who was passionate about their job here at housing on Georgia Southern Armstrong. Resident advisors are primarily unavailable and always seem bothered and uniform with the questions we bring to them. Additionally, we have only had two meetings with the RA, one back in August and I had one earlier this week that went over closing procedures. My RA could not answer any questions we had, and nothing of importance got discussed that we couldn’t discover ourselves. The resident directors were always rude in my in-person encounters with them.

I am here imploring for change. In my honest opinion, Georgia Southern Armstrong Housing lacks in many areas. It is quite pitiful that the conditions of housing are as they are. There is no one in particular to blame. Rather as a whole, the housing department needs an upswing.