The Dwight delights most residents

By Shardae Smith

As previously reported by The Chronicle on April 18, students have officially moved into The Dwight, 642 S. Clark St., after Columbia signed a five-year lease with the building  in spring 2010.

The new housing option replaced housing in buildings 2 E. 8th St. and at the 18 E. Congress Pkwy. Building.

Students who moved into The Dwight are generally pleased with the building and are taking advantage of the building’s amenities such as the graffiti room, sky lounge and fitness center.

“I like that there’s separate bedrooms,” said Shannon Bennett, freshman music major. “We can have our privacy, and the kitchen’s great. The common room is great because everybody hangs out there.”

Although some students are content, there has been confusion about featured spaces of the building not being fully accessible for resident use.

Students currently do not have access to the balcony off of the Sky Lounge on the 11th floor, which provides views of the surrounding area.

Students were under the impression they had access to the deck because they are residents of the building, but the door is always locked, according to freshman arts, entertainment and media management major Haley Camacho.

“If Residence Life holds an event, and we can have the needed security [students are allowed access to the Sky Lounge deck], said Kelli Collins, assistant director of Residence Life. “Honestly, students will drop things over, students will fall over. We want to make sure we can provide the best security we can.”

There were talks of creating a garden for student use, according to Collins, but at The Dwight it’s currently not an option because Columbia doesn’t own the building.

Residents of The Dwight would like the chance to grow produce on the roof.

“If I could tell management anything, I’d say open up the Sky Lounge deck and [building] rooftop,” said freshman fashion design major Alexis Barksdale. “I heard there are gardens up on the roof. Wouldn’t it be cool if you could grow your own stuff up there? We could also put compost heaps up there.”

Collins said it isn’t possible to allow students to have the deck at their disposal because security would need to be available at all times to prevent any rule violations or attempted suicides.

“Unfortunately, sometimes students go through what they go through,” Collins said. “That deck could be a place where students decide, ‘This is where I’m about to do [something] to not be in this predicament anymore.”

Suicide is the second leading cause of death among college students, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Nearly 4,000 people aged 15–24 die each year by suicide in the U.S.

Collins said denying students access to the deck is necessary for their safety.

“You could have security cameras all day long perched out there on that deck,” Collins said. “But there is no way that is going to hinder somebody. Students go ahead and risk the repercussions, but [at the same time], who on the ground is paying the price?”

Students also complained campus security hassles them about hanging out in front of the building.

The city of Chicago’s smoking ordinance prohibits individuals from smoking within 15 feet of a building entrance, but some students said smoking should be allowed on the deck.

“You [don’t want to] see someone standing out there smoking and flicking stuff over the edge, throwing their cigarette butt [off the deck]” Collins said. “You can’t smoke inside of the buildings, then there’s smoke traveling into that lounge.”

As far as students having access to the deck on the 11th floor Sky Lounge, it doesn’t seem as if it’s going to happen.

Additional reporting by Madeline Eckart, Contributing Writer