February 5, 2010

Summer Storage: Letter to the Student Housing Section

Dear Officer

I am writing to suggest that we eliminate the requirement for students to remove all their belongings from their rooms during summer, both for the convenience of the Student Housing Section and residents, under the following conditions:

1. The students are bound to return the next year;

2. There is no constraint in summer hall rooms and rooms for other functions during summer;

3. The students concerned are willing to stay in their original room in the following year.

The reason I am suggesting this is that, if you ask whichever mainland student who had the experience of packing and unpacking during room transitions and summer storage, they will unanimously complain about how much trouble such processes cause them every year – some would even claim this is the worst experience in their hall life every year.

I understand that the Student Housing Section has its own concerns, which I formulate are probably confined to the following:

1. There are extra income generated by summer hall and other renting services of hall rooms;

2. Emptying the rooms facilitate the room inspection process;

3. The rooms need to be checked every year for defects caused by residents such that proper deduction from the caution money fund could be carried out;

4. Personal belongings are not safe locked in the room for too long;

5. There are students who are willing to change their rooms every year for this or that reasons.

These are the reasons I can think of now. (Should there be any other, please inform me so we can think of solutions together.) Here are my solutions to the corresponding questions:

1. There are many extra rooms left empty during summers and relatively few summer residents. The rooms of former residents who will not live in the hall next year are more than sufficient to accommodate all summer residents;

2. Emptying the rooms is not necessary for room inspection. I have seen rooms effectively inspected before residents’ belongings being packed;

3. There are two solutions to this problem:

a. As explained in 2, it is feasible to carry out the room inspection and assess the damages without emptying the room;

b. A probably smarter solution is to carry out the room inspection only when the residents are leaving, i.e. at the end of their last year of residence, and assess the room damages and debit the caution money fund the amount accumulated for all years of residence;

4. In fact, every winter vacation, most mainland students just leave their belongings in the rooms as they are for a period sometimes as long as a month, and I haven’t heard any claim against lost items (but such claims do arise regarding summer storage). Also, it is easy for students to bring along with them or lock away valuable items during the summer if this is of much concern;

5. We can still arrange new rooms to students with such needs as before, but this work load should be significantly reduced.

And the benefits to the Student Housing Section as well as residents are:

· Saving the substantial amount of time and effort that Student Housing Section staff and returning residents have to make every year for summer storage, and avoiding the risk of injury that sometimes occur during the process of packing (considering the incredibly bulky luggage some students have, such incidents should not be difficult to imagine);

· The Student Housing Section’s work required to allocate rooms every year can be reduced;

· Congestion in the storage rooms can be alleviated;

· The occurrence of occasional lost items claims concerning summer storage can be significantly lessened;

· The extraordinary wear and tear of the elevators during luggage transportation periods could be minified;

· Once my luggage was tainted by water during the storage period and partially destroyed, probably because of swilling rains. If properly stored in the dorm room, such occasions should not occur since there is sufficient space for placing belongings away from the windows.

These are the benefits and solutions to potential problems I can think of now, and I welcome discussions as for other related issues. As a matter of fact, in mainland China, virtually all college students remain in the same room for as long as their undergraduate programs last, and this has not caused much problem in its own regard as far as I understand. This has effectively demonstrated the feasibility of my suggestion above.

Thank you for your attention.


Han Zhang

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