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Two students take on Fanshawe's housing issues

Ivana Pelisek | Interrobang | News | August 25th, 2008

It is that time once again, and students will be soon be crowding the hallways of colleges everywhere.

Anticipation is building and with only a week until classes are set to resume, everyone is preparing themselves for a brand new school year.

With that being said, too many students integrating together are also a cause for concern. Many students choose to live in off campus housing units located conveniently steps from the college. With ongoing problems including by-law infractions, two Fanshawe College students have a plan, which should result in a more controlled environment for everyone.

Michael Dren, 23, and Aaron Deactis, 24, have put together a proposal that targets off campus housing as a part of their Integrated Land Planning Technologies program here at Fanshawe. Both are intensely passionate about their project and want to see it prosper and evolve for the students.

Presently and in previous years, out-of-control partying has been a problem for the college. The parties take place in Gate Walk and Fleming Drive off-campus housing areas, right outside Fanshawe College's doors.

Dren and Deactis decided to focus on Gate Walk and get to the root of things.

Their proposal outlines seven guidelines, which in a clear manner aims at improving the community in a way so everyone benefits.

“The city of London should find a way to work alongside the school to ensure students have the best experience they can,” said Deactis.

According to the city of London, there is no law, which states the city must in fact get involved; there is simply no requirement for it.

“The education people receive at Fanshawe College is of great quality, and that should also be implemented into students' living arrangements,” said Dren.

As of right now the off campus housing community is quite secluded from the rest of the college, or like “the rest of the world,” add the pair.

There needs to be a clear balance between where people attend classes and where they live. The students' new off campus residences should resemble what they have previously been exposed to.

There should not be a lack of amenities, shortage of social events or any kind of college related activity available to students either living on or off campus.

When students come to college they have certain expectancies and a way they presume things around them should be.

“There is no sense of structure. All students want is a chance to socialize and meet people,” said Deactis.

In reality it is not the students that require too much in order to feel safe and feel as if they were a part of the school. It is the location in which they live that is not allowing them the chance to do so.

The plan, which the pair is proposing, deals with open-concept planning that ultimately should result in the “right way to have a good time and party while in a controlled environment,” said Dren. “We're not saying ‘don't party,' just that there is a right way to do it.”

The pair is in favour of having residence advisors who will help maintain control within the off campus housing community.

In return they are to provide proper planning for the students, while organizing events, therefore giving new students a chance to socialize and meet new friends.

With this in mind, “it will be in the best interest for the school, the city, building management and the police to get involved,” admitted Dren.

The way the off campus community works is quite simple. The buildings, which hold the students, use to cater to perhaps a family with approximately three bedrooms in each unit. The buildings have now been converted into six-bedroom units that can hold more students. This is entirely true do to the fact the college is constantly expanding and room needs to be set aside to help house all the students who are also coming in from out of town.

“Five different persons living in one residence is like five different families living in that residence,” said Deactis.

The reality of this proposal is none other than things need to be up graded.

The buildings need much needed TLC, landscaping should be improved and over all “there are bad move in conditions,” that need to be fully addressed, add the pair.

“At this time I am not sure if Fanshawe College will be using our guidelines,” Dren added. “We hope Fanshawe does look into our project further and in the end help improve the quality of off campus student housing as well as improving connections with the surrounding community.

“We are both very passionate about our project since we have both been attending Fanshawe College for the past five years. We have seen and heard about issues in the off campus housing. We feel students deserve proper quality and respect of residences as they receive attending college. In the current situation, we feel that our case study we focused on (Gate Walk) could make some changes using our guidelines.”

At this present time there is no word on whether or not the proposed plan will be followed through by Dren and Deactis after their graduation later this year.

They are to meet with College rep Emily Marcoccia and others to further discuss this project and the possibilities that might one day enable future students to have the best experience here at Fanshawe College.
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