Challenges Faced by DC Students Who Stay During Breaks

Written by: MaKayah Long

The sidewalks snaking across campus appear abandoned. Buildings are dark and quiet. Nearly empty parking lots signify to outsiders that the college is closed for winter break. Although classes are not in session during these times, a significant number of students can still be found on the Defiance College campus over academic breaks.

More than 80 students registered for winter break housing according to the Office of Residence Life. While most of these students are winter athletes, some have other reasons to stick around. Sophomore Mikeaya McLaurin stayed on campus in order to keep working at her local job. McLaurin shared that the best part of staying during the break was “that it was relaxing and silent.” She notes that the worst part is that “the break is very long”. Because of COVID, winter break is an extra week longer than normal.

The dining hall is closed over breaks, meaning students are responsible for purchasing and preparing their own meals. McLaurin stated another issue is with all the necessary purchases of “so much fast food.

If students do not wish to get take out, cooking areas are provided by the college however, there are challenges and differences in cooking in a residence hall than at home.

Residential students are allowed a microwave and mini-fridge in their rooms, but no appliances with exposed heating elements such as toasters or electric skillets. Therefore most cooking needs to be done elsewhere.

Both McReynolds and Whitney residence halls offer students access to an oven, stove, and microwave. In the three story residence halls, transporting food, dishes, and cookware back and forth for each meal can become quite the chore depending on what floor the student lives.

Dishes must be done promptly, as any left in the sink over 24 hours can be thrown away. There is not a set supply of dishes, utensils, or cookware for students to use in the kitchens.

When asked if she could change one thing about living on campus over break, Mikeaya McLaurin suggested “a kitchen on every floor, so I don’t have to go to the second floor to cook”.

“That extra cost can be difficult to manage for some students,” said Lisa Marsalek, Dean of Student Life. “We have been able to provide some food assistance thanks to our Jacket Care Corner food pantry over the last two years.” The Jacket Care Corner food pantry, located in Hubbard Hall 103, provides currently enrolled students with food, laundry products, school supplies, and personal hygiene items.

Housing rules are just as important over breaks, but they are different than during the normal semesters. Tighter security is being maintained due to reduced staff and students as well as COVID-19 concerns. Winter break residents agree to no guests. They also continue to follow COVID safety protocol, such as wearing masks outside of their room.

“We have had to remove students from break housing due to not following safety rules,” Dean Marsalek stated.

Winter break residents are also required to be COVID tested on either January 15th or January 18th, the same as students who went home for the break.

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