OPINION: Is the privilege that comes with a porch worth it?

Photo courtesy of Ren Sikes.

Tori Miller | News Editor

Where are you living this year? The age old ice-breaker question that every UD student knows all too well. When anyone thinks of UD, the student neighborhood filled with colorful houses is one of the first images that pops into the mind. Porches at UD symbolize more than just a housing option– it symbolizes a lifestyle that only the people who work the hardest get to have, right? 

What happens to those who work hard collecting UD’s controversial PATH points only to receive their last housing choice or no house at all? Why have students been leaning more towards landlord housing in the past few years? The answer is simple, UD’s housing placement system is incredibly flawed. 

Going into my senior year, I was ecstatic knowing that I was going to be living in the house that I had worked toward. During my junior year, the entirety of my weeks revolved around when AVIATE events took place. I distinctly remember not being able to start my Mondays until that coveted “This week in AVIATE” email reached my inbox. After working hard to collect 90 individual PATH points, researching housing options and being ranked high for a group of four I was devastated when my group’s housing results came in. 

All of us wanted a house. That’s what seniors were supposed to have for their final hoorah at college and what your social credibility on campus relies on. Instead, we were put in our second to last apartment option. On top of that, when we inquired about our placement, we were ignored for months only to be told that our placement was determined by a box we didn’t check on our application and by our support animal– something no one in my group had. 

How are busy students, like myself, supposed to carve out enough time to do weekly PATH events? That’s the thing, it’s possible to get 20-30 in a semester without stressing yourself out. However, due to the uptick in online or self-guided AVIATE opportunities during COVID, getting over 100 PATH points has become the new baseline. 

The PATH point system caters to those who aren’t as involved on campus. For example, someone with twelve credit hours, barely any homework, and no recreational clubs could feasibly gain over 100 PATH points. In my case, I was working two on campus jobs, taking seventeen credit hours, performing in marching band and writing for Flyer News all while trying to collect PATH points to have a chance at getting a house. It was terrible for my mental health. 

After being placed in the Adele center, I realized that apartments get a bad rep and that houses receive certain privileges apartment dwellers don’t. If you look at the University of Dayton’s official instagram, do you see any pictures of students in apartment complexes? On top of this, my roommate group was denied a recycling bin from SGA because of where we lived, and I’ve lost count at the disappointed “ohs” I’ve received in response to the “where are you living?” question. 

The kicker of it all is that we have had many people come to use our utilities because not all UD houses provide things like washers and dryers. Yet, there is this stigma that apartments are lame for upperclassmen. I’ve come to love where I live, but it’s hard to acknowledge how much time and energy I put into collecting PATH points– time that I will never get back. 

UD wants students to have agency over their housing which sounds fantastic on paper, but in reality, this caters to people who have the privilege of free time. Around campus I’ve had conversations about how this could be different, but it seems that UD is not moving in another direction anytime soon. For now, selling our souls to the PATH point grind, sacrificing mental health and mindlessly collecting credits as useful as monopoly money will continue to persist.

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