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Residence Hall Policy Prohibiting Opening of Windows Frustrates Some Students

The windows of one of the quad residence halls
Photo by Elisabeth Sinicrope

Meredith students who live on-campus in residence halls are advised to not open their windows for the sake of campus safety and to keep wildlife from coming indoors. While the Residence Hall Guide to Community Living in the 2021-2022 Undergraduate Student Handbook does not include keeping residence hall windows closed in any of its policies and procedures, students who live in residence halls are told of this informal policy when they move in. The Herald interviewed students who have had experiences either living in the residence halls or staying in a residence hall for quarantine to hear their perspectives on rules surrounding windows.

Kaiya Nilsson, ‘25, lives in a residence hall and has also experienced quarantining in Stringfield Hall. They stated, “Meredith’s rule about no windows opening [in residence halls] is something I strongly disagree with. My room gets stuffy, and I’m constantly living in recycled air. Even when I was in the quarantine...I wasn’t allowed to open the window.”

Nilsson said she understands that open windows “might be a safety concern especially for residents on higher floors, but…the solution is simply putting in screens and/or having students sign a liability waiver.” They believe that Meredith should not fine students for opening a window that they “are paying so much money to stay in, especially during a pandemic.”

Juniper Craft, ‘25, also thinks students should be allowed to open windows in residence halls. They shared that “opening a window lets direct sunlight come into [their] room, which helps [their] anxiety and depression.” Serene Otero, ‘23, stated that she felt very closed off from the rest of the world, especially after already being isolated in a small room because of COVID-19. She described it as “solitary confinement.”

The Herald also spoke with Carrie Barnhart, Director of Residence Life. She said, “While it might seem inconvenient, keeping our windows closed is really important to the overall community. Keeping windows closed allows our heating and cooling systems to work appropriately and keeps bugs and other critters out of our halls. In some buildings, windows can be a bit difficult to open and fully close, which can lead to similar issues.”

By Evelyn Summers, Staff Writer


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