One of our opinion staff writers interviewed the creator of @endpathpoints – an Instagram account that aims to reform UD’s housing system. Photo in cover graphic taken by Christian Cubacub
Opinions Staff Writer
On my second day as a student here at the University of Dayton, a student orientation leader strongly advised me and my peers to sign up for special interest housing in the coming spring. At the time, I thought it was an odd thing to bring up, considering there are a few hoops to jump through if I went that route. But as I turn the corner of my first year at UD, it has become increasingly apparent that the tip I was given was more of a warning. This was my first introduction to the widely-held antipathy from students toward PATH points. Although I have only had a semester and change to collect PATH points, I have had enough of a taste to sour the housing process for me entirely.
Being a first-year student, I came to the university with excitement to have so many opportunities to be a part of clubs, organizations, and jobs that were not offered when I was in high school. And of course, I made the common freshman mistake of joining way too many. But eventually, the dust settled, and I found my place on campus. That was until the reality of PATH point collection set in. I want to have a decent housing choice for next year, as does everyone else, but I also have to attend my classes, do my homework, write papers, study, participate in clubs, work a campus job, make friends, and somehow sleep and eat between all of that. It should not come as a shock to anyone who has experienced the bustle of the University of Dayton when I say I have been to exactly one PATH point-eligible event all year.
Call it observation bias, but as I prepared to write this piece on my distaste for AVIATE’s flawed housing system, I could not help but notice the universal agreement amongst my peers. My roommate apologized for falling behind on points because she had class obligations that week. A classmate of mine mentioned the PATH point system when my teacher asked us to identify issues on campus for our public relations class. I even got a follow on Instagram from an account that goes by the tag @endpathpoints. This is when I really became curious. Before, I could write off point collecting as an annoyance or just another thing that us college kids complain about, but now, someone is taking action.
I sat down with the creator of the @endpathpoints account and subsequent movement to learn all that I could about how AVIATE is impacting the students across campus. The owner wished to remain anonymous in order to reflect their desire for the account to be a student collective rather than an individual effort. With that being said, here’s what I learned from the interview.
Created almost a month ago, the account aims to vocalize the collective complaints of students, because as it turns out, nearly everyone has an adverse personal encounter with the AVIATE system. In such a short amount of time, @endpathpoints has already garnered over 350 followers with hopes to double that number by the time the Student Government spring elections come around in a couple months. The reason why the election cycle is so important is SGA representatives are the ones who can put pressure on the administration here at UD. This is seemingly the only way to grant the students their wishes of a fairer housing system. When asked about their interaction with the SGA, the account owner explained that representatives have “The same gut feeling inside most of them. The [difference] is that I am saying the quiet part out loud.”
According to the posts found on the @endpathpoints Instagram, the major concerns of the campaign are point inflation, long lines, point hunting, zero follow up, and student time management. The fact of the matter is that students are not attending events to take anything away from them; they are solely there to get a QR code scanned. No information is retained in this process, leading to the issue of point hunting and a lack of an interest in what is being taught at the event. Not to mention, each PATH event is a three hour chunk of our valuable time when you factor in the two hours you have to wait to even get a seat. “It’s disrespectful to our time… it’s disrespectful to our dignity… it’s disrespectful to our Marianist value of the common good,” according to the leader of the campaign, and it is clear to see how true this is when our time is currency and our attention is in competition. Respect is to be earned, not bought by ill-motivated self interest.
The truth can be a hard pill to swallow. A member of SGA told @endpathpoints that programs like AVIATE are estimated to cost the university several million dollars. Subsequently, AVIATE also costs student time. In the interview, we discussed that the best thing for our students would be to reallocate the money and time from PATH events to broaden the mental health resources on campus to ensure happy and healthy Flyers.
In a 2014 poll conducted by Flyer News, the AVIATE and PATH programs had a 71% disapproval rate, which I can only assume has increased as the system has continued. Moving forward, to satisfy the students, something needs to give. In an ideal world, @endpathpoints would like to hold to its namesake and return to a fair and decent lottery system. Realistically, the campaign will press for an increase in online modules that will be more flexible and accommodating with student schedules. This would in turn bring respect back to speaker events for both the guest presenters and the students who genuinely care about what they are saying. To use @endpathpoints’s words, “Showing up is not enough… You need to bring heart. You need to bring soul to these events.” It’s time that the Flyers stand up for fairer housing and a community that values collective respect.
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