A Hofstra Student’s Perspective on a Forced Mandate

What’s overpriced and sub-standard? On Hofstra’s Campus, we call this Lackmann Culinary Services.

As a freshman, you are mandated to obtain a minimum meal plan of at least $1,750. At first, you think that California Pizza Kitchen tastes like everything that college should, but as you begin to see how quickly your money dwindles after a few Dutch runs that ring up bills of $60 for a box of cereal and an expired Snapple, you start to mature a bit. When sophomore year begins, you decide to give your wallet and digestive system a rest and buy some regular groceries. Not any longer.

Hofstra is now mandating that every resident, regardless of class standing, have a minimum meal plan of $825. Whatever happened to freedom of choice? How can we pay over $50 thousand in tuition and still be told where we can and cannot eat?

How can Hofstra force its students to pay for something they don’t want to? As a private university, Hofstra knows that students must follow what it puts into law regardless of disagreement.

While it is true that some other colleges mandate that their students have an on-campus meal plan, students are aware of this before they choose to go to the particular school. Hofstra waking up one morning and deciding that they need to add another bill to our tuition should come with more of a warning. They should at least grandfather the rule so that students who attended Hofstra before this law was passed can opt out of a meal plan.

As if it weren’t bad enough that the university takes so much of our money, it now forces us to spend our stolen cash on exceedingly expensive meals that pose as healthy options.

Hofstra claims to adhere to our dietary needs by offering 18 locations, but it’s almost impossible to eat healthily on this campus without taking out additional loans. A banana shouldn’t be $1.19. I can go to the local farmers market and get 15 bananas for that price.

The fact that Hofstra has to force its students to buy campus food should say something about its quality. It would be different if the food here were actually good. Frozen vegetables and stone-like bagels are not my ideas of fine dining. A Hofstra meal plan is the most expensive laxative anyone has ever been forced to buy.

As a student who pays for college by myself, I am always conscious of how I spend money. If I can spend a fraction of the to cost to actually eat edible food, why shouldn’t I? There is no incentive to having a meal plan other than having someone prepare my food. Lack of convenience is a small price to pay to avoid decreasing my student debt.

Hofstra students unaware yet appreciative of simple dorm renovations

I interviewed Hofstra University students living in Estabrook and Vander Poel after revealing some unknown recent renovations to Hofstra Dorms. While a full renovation is still fully desired, students reactions were more understanding of Hofstra faculties’ efforts to creating the best living environment.

part 4 of 4. Check out other posts on the topic: Hofstra dorming: the ongoing renovation process, A personal perspective of dorming conditions, and Dorm quality starts with maintenance, but how trustworthy are they?

Hofstra dorming: the ongoing renovation process

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Vice President of Students Affairs,  Sandy Johnson and Vice President of Facilities and Operations, Joseph Barkwill, meet with me to discuss what goes behind Hofstra’s renovations. 

Molding, leaking, and decaying, oh my! These are some of the problems Hofstra University students who live in the towers Vander Poel and Estabrook have. With a good portion of tuition allocated for rooming, some students are unhappy with their current living conditions. Good news students! Hofstra has heard your complaints and is doing all they can to address the problems.

“Our belief is to remain in a state of positive restlessness,” said Vice President of Student Affairs Sandra Johnson. “What we are doing to improve is good, but there is always room for more improvements.”

What exactly are these improvements? Hofstra is currently two years underway into their three year plan to renovate all six towers. The time it takes to completely renovate each building allow Hofstra to manage only two per Summer.

“Literally the day after commencement we start taking apart the buildings” said Vice President of Facilities and Operations Joseph Barkwill.

Summer classes and activities hinder their ability to renovate them at once because they must keep a good portion of the dorms available. Vander Poel and Estabrook are the last two buildings scheduled for renovation this upcoming Summer.

Each renovation includes new furniture, flooring, blinds, fire alarm system, security system, HVAC units, and a complete painting. This comes with a price tag of 1.4 million dollars for each tower. The towers will also receive new windows which equals an additional 4.5 million dollars for all six.

Students who live in the two unrenovated towers may feel frustrated with current room problems there are things they can do prior to renovation. By using the Hofstra Portal, a work order can be put in to public safety who will respond and fix the problem in a timely manner.

To some students, having perfect dorm quality seems that it should be an unquestionable priority but there is a much more complicated process behind it all. Plans for improvements are always underway, ranging from a two to five year planning process.

Johnson describes the altercations to Hofstra facilities as “constant, you never stop. Students dictate what changes they want to see and we listen.” Through the data they find in work orders, the results of the Quality of Life Survey, and any other suggestions they receive, Student Affairs works within the realms of their time and budget to offer the best solutions to Hofstra students.

My Infographic

Infographic created by Jennifer Sekyi

 part 3 of 4. Check out other posts on the topic: Hofstra students unaware yet appreciative of simple dorm renovations, A personal perspective of dorming conditions, and Dorm quality starts with maintenance, but how trustworthy are they?

A personal perspective of dorm conditions

Peyton Fletcher is a Hofstra University student living in Estabrook, a dorm scheduled for renovation. Although she has numerous infrastructure problems, she is optimistic about her rooming experience. Check out Peyton’s break down of her room and interview with Julian Coltre here.

part 2 of 4. Check out other posts on the topic: Hofstra students unaware yet appreciative of simple dorm renovations, Hofstra dorming: the ongoing renovation process, and Dorm quality starts with maintenance, but how trustworthy are they?

Dorm quality starts with maintenance, but how trustworthy are they?

While  functioning furniture and air tight windows are all essentials to dorm quality, safety is a top priority. But what happens when students can’t trust those that are there to fix their dorms? Take a look at what students have to say about maintenance safety in Jennifer Sekyi’s storify.

Want more information about Hofstra’s renovation process? Check out the rest of the story:

Rennovations you may not have known about at Hofstra University http://vimeo.com/55958675 #HofRenovation

The facts and figures behind the renovation process at Hofstra http://wp.me/p2Is9b-2e #HofRenovation

How much do dorm renovations at Hofstra cost? Check out this infographic to find out #HofRenovation  pic.twitter.com/WNXvFUye

A personal perspective of Hofstra’s dorm conditions http://wp.me/p2Is9b-2s #HofRenovation

How trustworthy are the maitenance in your dorm? http://storify.com/jensekyi/dorm-maintenance-workers-are-they-trustworthy #HofRenovation