GW prides itself on the impeccable services it offers to students. High-quality residence halls, the 4-RIDE van service and a wide variety of food establishments complement the GW academic experience. It seems, however, that the end of the academic year brings a significant decline in the quality of student services for summer residents.
During the summer, mail service in residence halls is almost non-existent. Most summer residents received mail about once a week. GW Mail services employees have noted that the massive amount of mail forwarding provided to GW students not present during the summer slows down mail delivery for those who choose to stay. Students who are paying to live in residence halls should receive priority when it comes to mail delivery. Summer interns cannot afford to wait an extra two weeks to receive paychecks or bills.
The housing system used during the summer is not the same as the one used during the school year. Thus, the Community Living and Learning Center often fails to notify students before they receive new roommates. In some instances, a new roommate moved in while a previous resident was on vacation, causing some students to question the safety of their belongings in rooms where new residents can move in at any time without notification. When questioned about the policy, CLLC staff members refer to a clause in the summer housing contract that allows the University to move in new roommates without this notification.
In addition, constant intrusions by FIXIT employees, Residential Property Management staffers, painters and a variety of other individuals with unfettered access to GW rooms degrade the feeling of privacy and safety students should feel in GW housing.
Summer residents do not have comparable access to University foods as their full-time counterparts. Restricted summer hours at J Street serve neither the profit motives of Aramark nor the needs of the summer population. The Marvin Center was open during the summer during lunch hours, even though most summer residents work at internships on the Hill or other locations remote from campus. If J Street had been open in the evenings, many summer residents would have utilized the facility.
Summer students often reported problems with University facilities. Even with a decreased on-campus population, issues with academic facilities did not subside. Classrooms in Rome Hall were without air conditioning frequently in June.
Some GW services do improve with the decrease in student population. The Health and Wellness Center, usually packed beyond capacity during the school year, seems appropriately sized in the summer. The 4-RIDE van service is prompt and reliable. These small positives, however, only highlight the shortcomings of these services during the school year.
Every interaction that a student or summer intern has with the University colors their perception of GW for years to come. The lackluster services provided to summer interns have the capacity to undermine the University’s nationwide reputation. Likewise, a poor perception of the GW summer experience that manifests itself with lower summer enrollment will harm the University’s long-term goal of utilizing classroom facilities year-round.
In order to improve perceptions during the summer, the University must treat summer residents as more than just a CLLC housing contract. Simple improvements in mail services, food options and fewer intrusions into the residence halls over the summer would engender positive attitudes in GW summer students and interns utilizing University facilities.