Winter Break Story House Blues
The start of each school year: possibly a bigger fiasco than any TNC of the year. The elevators are clogged with refrigerators and microwaves. Storage units and pods turn the campus into a giant maze, and Allen wrenches flow like water. Fortunately, the middle of the year isn’t quite as bad as move-in day, but CMC still ought to take any steps they can to make this whole ordeal pass as painlessly as possible. That’s why it seems so silly that, during two days before classes start, probably the biggest arrival day for returning students, ID cards can only be reactivated for a few hours. Over winter and summer breaks, most ID cards are deactivated, and must be reactivated at Story House. One problem: Story House is only open from 10am-3pm on those days. I’ve spent more time than that on a Daily Show bender. Story House hours don't seem like much of a problem until you arrive at 3:30pm and don't have a place to sleep that night.
With a little rethinking, activating cards can be made far more idiot proof, and, as an idiot, I would love to see that happen. For those of us who drive to school or take a particularly long flight, a five hour window during the middle of the day can be a difficult target, and the options for those who miss it are limited.
During the day, it’s easy to get a hold of an RA or find a friend to let you in, but at night? Not so easy. I’ve faced a locked front door late at night and I bet I’m not the only one. At that point, you meet a pretty nasty dilemma: risk pissing off the sleeping Resident Assistant, calling Campus Safety or sleeping in a bush. And if nobody answers your phone call, that bush starts to look pretty cozy. If not for a couple of night owl friends, I would have faced a pretty interesting night.
By keeping Story House open for just a few more hours during the two days prior to classes restarting, we can make the whole process a lot easier. Students can afford to arrive a few hours later, and RA’s can rest easier.
Keeping Story House open isn't free, but changing around the hours doesn't have to come at a significant cost to the school. Currently, Story House is open for five hours in the middle of the day, when traffic is probably going to be the slowest. By shifting those hours to later in the evening, say 3pm to 8pm, Story House can ensure that more students will be able to reactivate their cards before it closes and nighttime arrives. Sure, arriving at 7am and not getting into your room until 3pm is inconvenient. But, arriving at 3:30pm and realizing you don't have a place to sleep that night is much worse. The administration could also give Story House two days off during the middle of the semester in order to allow for extended hours when it really counts. At the end of the day, even if keeping the card reactivation station operating for longer does cost a little extra, that's price worth paying.
It seems that most students plan their return trips more effectively than I have, and we don't see an epidemic of lockouts during the days before the semester officially starts. For the most part, students are going to be able to find a way to get by without their cards for a night, but a simple change can remove a bit of the travel stress from move-in day. Every little bit helps.