DePaul housing decreed a policy in late August preventing guests from entering on-campus housing units besides the two guests of each student who are permitted to help the student on their single move-in day. The policy is being reconsidered on Sept. 27, but the reconsideration relies on the progression of Covid cases on campus.
Overall, the policy has its benefits and limitations. As a freshman, the guest policy is rather limiting in terms of having a place to be sociable with new friends. But, because of this policy I have been forced to actually go outside of my dorm and find places that I would not have found otherwise. For instance, my friends and I often hang out in Oz Park. .
On the other hand, it is difficult to have this policy because it is impractical for my family to visit the campus. With my family living out-of-state, they travel several hours to spend time with me. It’s inconvenient for my family to drive here and back in one day, so they have to find another place to stay. Typically this would be fine considering their stay could be free if we were allowed to have guests in the on-campus housing, but now it is just another expense so they are less inclined to make the trip to see me. I am aware this is not an issue for some people that go to DePaul as some often commute from their parents’ houses, but as an out-of-state student, it is rather daunting to come onto campus, especially for the first time, and suddenly not be able to see your family for a couple of months simply because they would not be able to financially support an overnight visit.
Aside from the personal advantages and disadvantages of the housing policy, from a health concern standpoint, the housing policy is not helping much. The housing policy is in place in an attempt to keep students apart from one another in a small space without their masks on, but for most students at DePaul, when we go off-campus to a friend’s apartment or when people go to a party, it is an even worse scenario. Not only is it an even larger influx of people that are coming together in tight, small spaces without masks, it is also even more desired since it is one of the only places you can go, especially after dark, with your friends since you cannot go in each other’s dorms. Additionally, when students are needing to branch out and find new places to be sociable with their friends, they are more likely to go off-campus and bring any potential sickness back from where they were.
Ultimately, the housing policy should be relinquished. It is not helping as much as the administration desires it too, but only putting students in a position to be less Covid conscious. It is only causing students from off-campus or other dorms to be snuck into residence buildings and is bringing back more germs than there would be if we were allowed to go in the different buildings. Students would be able to see their families more if it was lifted. And the best part of it all, when you are hanging out with friends after most academic buildings close, especially on weekends, your friends can finally have somewhere to go to the bathroom instead of having to run back to their off-campus apartment that is 15 minutes away.