I was ecstatic about my living situation going into this year. I was set to move into a brand new townhouse with some of my absolute favorite people. I had been approved for an early move-in and was looking forward to being able to settle in and scope out the house before everyone arrived. I was ready for my move-in to Townhouse Block 16 to be the kick-off to a spectacular year. Unfortunately, that’s not how it happened.
The first indicator that there would be trouble came on Aug. 11, when my early move-in confirmation email hinted that those living in certain areas “may be informed 24 hours prior to their arrival that they cannot move-in if occupancy has not been approved. They will need to make alternative arrangements.” There was no additional information provided on what “other arrangements” was supposed to mean, but the anxiety level was definitely on the rise.
It wasn’t until Aug. 24 that we received an update. It was acknowledged that there was an issue with construction, however, this communication still used the noncommittal language that the construction delay “could affect your ability to move in on time” and “if a delay does occur you will be assigned a temporary space.” We were told to select a preference for on-campus or off-campus temporary housing and told that we would be updated on Aug. 31 with “your temporary assignment if needed.” This email contained no definitive information whatsoever, just vague and unhelpful allusions that something might be wrong.
My roommates and I had no idea how to feel about this. It led to hours of speculation in the group chat, and a smattering of panicked emails.
I had a bonus layer of issues to sort out here. I had been approved for an early move-in time, and I was supposed to be on campus two days before the date of our promised update. There seemed to be no guarantee they would be honoring early move-ins at all. This prompted my own slightly panicked email.
On Friday, Aug. 26, I gave up hope that anyone would be emailing me back and called the office. The person on the phone informed me that the office planned to allow those who were approved to move into the temporary housing early, that she saw my confirmed move-in appointment time and that she would send me an email later that day with additional details about my early move-in. For a few hours, that made me feel better. But that email never came.
What we got instead that night was the confirmation that the worst outcome had been realized. Our house would not be ready until Sept. 16, and we would be moving into the Conference Center.
I spent the weekend packing, just hoping that eventually, someone would tell me what was going on. Saturday passed with no update, and so did most of Sunday. It was 9:48 p.m. on Sunday before I received confirmation that I could move in, just 13 hours before my appointment.
This email contained no information other than simply confirming that I was allowed to show up. I didn’t know my room number, if I had gotten assigned the roommate I requested, how our temporary meal plan was supposed to work, what the system for laundry was or even if I was allowed to park in the Conference Center lot. Those details came at 11:50 p.m. on Sept. 2, after I had already been living there for almost five days.
We were told our move-in day would be Sept. 16, and that we would be able to get our pin numbers to access the house at 5 p.m. The day of our promised move-in finally came, and the aura of uncertainty still hung in the air. Every call and email my roommates sent that week looking for any kind of confirmation was met with a “we are anticipating” or “we are hoping,” with no official information. On Friday morning, we all began packing up our rooms with no guarantee that the University would be keeping its word.
It wasn’t until 4:51 p.m., a whole nine minutes before the promised check-in time, that the email came confirming we would be allowed access to the house that night.
When we showed up there was a box sitting in our hallway with a completely unassembled light fixture. The front door wouldn’t accept our Stag Cards, only the back. The smell of still-drying paint filled the space.
We would discover later that evening that our stove didn’t work, and that three different sinks and one of the toilets all leaked. The state of things made it actually believable that the house had been finished only nine minutes before our arrival.
It is truly disappointing how poorly the university handled communication with us during this time. When you are dealing with something as important as your house, you would hope the people in charge would be as transparent with communications as possible. They took obnoxiously long to admit there was a problem in the first place. Almost all emails and calls were met with a version of “you will be receiving more information soon.” They failed to give us any meaningful details until the last possible second time and time again.
Since we moved in, there has not been a single mention of reimbursement from the university. We paid the same amount of money as every other townhouse resident, but we lost two weeks of getting to live in our townhouse. We deserve some of our money back. It’s the least they can do.