Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Damage costs make, break dorm budgets

From Microsoft Xbox systems to wireless Internet networks, some Northwestern dorms find creative ways to spend their money. Others can’t afford weekly munchies.

Dorm financial situations are the responsibility of each individual hall government, said Shane Carlin, area coordinator for university residence life who oversees Kemper Hall and Ayers College of Commerce and Industry.

“As long as residence halls are following housing, university, local, state and federal policies, laws and guidelines, they pretty much have full jurisdiction,” Carlin said.

Each hall government receives dues from residents and designates money for maintenance, social and damage fees each year. Among other factors, fees are based on average yearly damages, said Brandy Jensen, area coordinator for university residence life who oversees Bobb and McCulloch halls.

Dorms with excess cash try to spend it on the residents who generated the surplus, said Caley Walsh, Goodrich House president and Weinberg sophomore.

Foster House recently purchased a DVD player and an Xbox, said McCormick junior Zaid Pardesi, the dorm’s treasurer. Last year dorm government bought an air-hockey table, he added.

Some dorms and residential colleges, such as Sargent Hall, currently find themselves in very different financial situations because they lack adequate maintenance and damage funds to cover the vandalism they experience.

Damaged drinking fountains and false fire alarm fines have depleted Sargent’s maintenance funds, said Adam Wu, Sargent’s residence hall coordinator.

The second- and third-floor drinking fountains were intentionally ripped off the walls last quarter, causing damage and flooding, said Julia Fu, Sargent’s social chairwoman and a McCormick sophomore.

Because the perpetrators have not been identified, the cost of the damage has been spread to all of Sargent’s residents, said Wu, a Communication senior.

“We are not buying anything right now and are barely having a formal,” Fu said. “We haven’t had munchies since the incident.”

Some dorms, such as Hobart House, experience less damage, so those expenses don’t hurt their social budgets. Hobart House has about $1,500 left at the end of each quarter, said Christina Chiu, the residential college’s treasurer and a Weinberg sophomore.

“We have three TVs and no space to put them,” said Aja Bonner, Hobart president and an Education sophomore.

Allison Hall, another dorm experiencing fiscal surplus, had a formal at the Sears Tower and is looking into installing a wireless Internet network in the dorm’s lounges, said Allison treasurer Adam Griffin, a Weinberg sophomore.

Bobb and McCulloch, which share the same dorm government, are on track financially for this time of year, but Jensen said they will not buy more electronics because it attract vandals. In the past, she said, Bobb has had a TV screen kicked in and a ping-pong table stolen.

“We spend our money on programs and things that won’t get destroyed,” Jensen said.

Judy Tsai, treasurer of the new Slivka Residence Hall, anticipates using all the money in her dorm’s maintenance account, but not because of damages. Slivka has large lockdown and maintenance costs for its computer lab and discovery room, which houses microscopes, telescopes and other electronics equipment.

“We have to leave a certain amount of money to store and lock stuff at the end of the year,” said Tsai, a McCormick senior. “We also have to set aside funds for printer cartridges and keeping up the electronics equipment.”

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Damage costs make, break dorm budgets