The dreadful email came on July 6. The sender: USF St. Petersburg Housing Department.
All of the students who were on the housing waitlist during the summer were anticipating the day they would be notified of their living arrangements. What we were all hoping for was an email stating whether we would live in Residence Hall One, or the University Student Center.
However, the email I received offered me neither option.
Instead, the school had- once again- accepted too many freshmen, and both RHO and the USC were filled to the brim. So what was our alternative? The Hilton St. Petersburg Bayfront, or what the school likes to call the Residence Hall Hilton (RHH).
RHH is a hotel I had heard countless rumors about last year. None of them were positive. I felt conflicted, and wanted to have a positive attitude about the issue. However, I couldn’t help but feel extremely upset.
Being an only child, I grew up not sharing space, or a room, for that matter. Not only that, but for the past couple of semesters attending this school, I always had my own room in RHO. I kept thinking, how was I going to adjust to this?
Eventually, I decided to just let it go and hope that things wouldn’t be as bad as they seemed.
Living at the RHH does have its positives, but the negatives tremendously overshadow that. What I was told before move-in day was that we would be provided with our own linens, towels, shower curtains, etc. So far, so good. Maid service would be provided twice a week, and we would have a bathtub, comfortable mattresses, as well as access to all of the hotel amenities. Plus, this year the students would finally receive free laundry service. Great! Sounds amazing, right?
What I was not told was that all of the rule changes at the Hilton were made for the new semester. When I walked into my hotel room that morning to move in, I saw no bed sheets, no covers, no pillows, the shower curtains were gone, and there wasn’t even toilet paper provided. Now, I understand that RHO doesn’t supply these things either, but that’s expected of a dorm. Compare that to a hotel, which, costs an extra $1,000, and people will expect all of those things to be provided.
It almost seems like the RHH is trying to dress up a hotel room to look like a college dorm. Now, not only is the RHH further away from campus than the other housing options, but we have to purchase our own supplies? The Hilton made things even more inconvenient than they already were before, and yet, it costs an extra $1,000 to live there?
Why make upperclassmen pay that extra amount when what we’re actually getting is a lot less? What are we paying for? At this point, I’m lucky to be supplied a bed, a bathroom and a few dim lamps. Oh well, at least I still get free laundry, right? However, I’d rather just live in RHO where I can give myself my own supplies and have my own space. A few quarters for laundry in RHO is doable, but $1,000 extra for something that is inconvenient and doesn’t even provide toilet paper isn’t worth it.
Along with not having any linens, toilet paper, or shower curtains, the RHH doesn’t accommodate college students. It has very small living quarters that two students have to share. Not to mention, there is only one desk, one small closet and hardly any drawer space to fit clothes for two students. Maybe the RHH can accommodate one student, but not two.
A hotel room is specifically used for friends or couples who are on vacation for a weekend and just need a place to stay. Hotel rooms are not for students who will live there for three months; it’s just not built for them. The accommodations that we need are desks, printers, a kitchen, space for textbooks, outlets for laptops, etc. We don’t need to be pampered by maids or have our trash taken out twice a week. Sure, it’s nice, but we’re adults. We can handle making our own beds, taking out our own trash and cleaning up after ourselves. What we really need is not provided in the RHH.
The Hilton makes it more inconvenient for the students who own cars. USFSP students are not allowed to park in the Hilton parking lot. Instead, we have to park in the USFSP parking garage and walk back to the RHH which is highly unsafe, especially at night in a high crime rate city. As a young woman, that makes me very uncomfortable.
© Photos by Tamiracle Williams/TCN