Residents and Reservations: The Semester in Review

Benedictine University – Daniel L. Goodwin Hall of Business | DLR Group
Photo Credit:

Anna Fisher – Staff Writer

The second-floor library is a quiet study space now. The practice rooms in Scholl play John Cage’s 4’ 33’ on repeat. The change to virtual space has meant changes in experience, and some students have concerns about what this semester has brought.

 “I get very upset about this on a daily basis,” said Steven Simonelli, a senior studying Psychology who had hoped to stay in Founders’ Woods over break to minimize risk, “I would have stayed here.”

 He worried about students heading home, possibly with the virus, “There’s something to be said if you send kids home to their parents like a pipe bomb.”

 This arrangement was decided before the semester began.

“In July, when we made the decision to keep housing available to our students, we sent amendments to housing agreements to all resident students,” said Liz Velez and Monica Ragusa in an email, “Students were informed that University Housing would end on November 28th.”

 Simonelli found out a month ago.

 “It was a surprise to me,” he said, admitting that he clicked accept on the agreement without reading closely, “I assumed it was just a slight revision.”

What irritates Simonelli more is the state of his meal plan.

“Meal plans are completely f***ed,” he said, “I still have $475 worth of munch money because they didn’t open up Coal Ben and only have Starbucks with limited selection,” he said. 

Ernie’s Market is open, but Simonelli doesn’t go there often. He’s also not a coffee drinker, “Hot chocolate costs $3.82. I could buy a hundred hot chocolates today and still have money left over!” 

Munch money does roll over to the spring semester, so Simonelli will have a chance to spend it.

For Matt Orozco, an Accounting major, senior, and RA in Ondrak, this semester has offered an opportunity to practice leadership.

“Being in the community was something I really looked forward to,” he said, “it’s also something that helps me work as a student and as a person.” 

The BenU website assures that all students who put in the effort to engage, explore and challenge themselves, will absolutely receive the valuable, transformative learning experience for which they applied.”

However, Orozco had trouble when trying to study in the Goodwin Computer Lab. Often, the room was locked, and the room monitor was not there.

Orozco is not alone. The Candor can pinpoint at least nine occasions when students who registered for the lab dealt with an absent or tardy monitor.

 “It happened to me several times, but most of the times were at 8 on a Friday, so I thought ‘they’re not coming,’ said Orozco.

 Once, Marc Davidson, Director of the Learning Center, let Orozco in. “That worked out because he was in Goodwin at the time. If not, then I probably would have given up,” Orozco said. Other times, Orozco found another study space.

 The Learning Center will continue next semester, according to Karen Campana, Chief Enrollment and Retention Officer.

 “We want to have those opportunities for students available because we also want them to start building a community,” she said.

Both Orozco and Simonelli are home for the semester. Krasa will remain open for students. Other buildings will be closed until Jan. 11. And the Computer Lab will be locked with no monitor to be seen, as usual.