While this story was originally slated for our fall issue of Auburn Magazine, spacing issues required that it be cut down significantly. However, we still wanted to share this story with you in its entirety, so today we are featuring it on the blog. Whether it be our magazine or the blog– happy reading! War Eagle!
Dorm rooms on the Quad and Hill are roughly 135 square feet, just as they were 50 years ago. These rooms aren’t expanding with age. Nevertheless, students continue lugging more and more belongings to their new homes on the Plains.
“Today you see students bringing in more and more stuff,” said Kim Trupp ’79, director of housing and residence life. “Everybody has all of the electronics now. Back in the earlier days everyone didn’t have a TV or stereo to bring. They’ve also gotten more creative with the storage solutions. But I guess they have to—it all has to go somewhere!”
Auburn’s Quad and Hill two-person dorm rooms are equipped with two beds, dressers, desks and study chairs. The Village rooms have the same accommodations in its bedrooms, but additionally have a couch, lounge chair and kitchen table with two chairs in the common areas.
As a 2011 Camp War Eagle Parent Counselor, Lauren Thomas gave housing tours to incoming freshmen and their parents. She said most of the parents were concerned with how much stuff they should bring to move-in day, or “Move-In Mania,” as Auburn has aptly named it.
“I usually tell the parents it’s OK to bring a lot of stuff because they can take it back home if it doesn’t fit,” Thomas said. “But I balance that by saying they really need to move in and live in the room for a little while and see what you need, how things are fitting and how your room functions after you live there for a month or so.”
According to a July 2010 survey conducted by the National Retail Federation, the total spending on back to college merchandise was expected to reach $33.77 billion. Combined with back to school spending for K-12, the event is the second largest consumer event of the year.
These expenses are in addition to the actual housing cost paid directly to the University. 2011-2012 rates for double rooms in the Quad and Hill are $4,730 and $4,090 per student. Four-person suites in the Village cost $6,260 per student.
“I think my biggest expense was adding up all of the little things that you take for granted when you live at home like an iron and sheets and things like that,” said Sterett Seckman ’13, who lived in Glenn Hall during his freshman year.
Seckman said the most important thing to him was having a functional room.
“That summer I got the dimensions of my room and then figured out where our bed and desks were going to go,” Seckman said. “And we were bringing a futon so I wanted to make sure it would fit. I drew up our whole room, which is probably overboard, but it worked. I just made me more comfortable knowing that it all would fit.”
Trupp agreed that guys’ rooms are usually all about functionality, usually accompanied by an X-box and a plethora of DVDs. However, the girls get significantly more creative, she said.
“The decorating just blows my mind on how they do some of these rooms,” Trupp said. “They look like they are right out of Better Homes and Gardens magazine. It’s just amazing.”
Margaret Anne Hendry ’15 is spending her first year at Auburn in Owen Hall.
She started gathering things to brighten up her bleak space at the beginning of the summer. Hendry is the youngest of three daughters to attend Auburn and inherited most of the things on her college checklist. However, she still has a plan to make her room unique.
“My roommate and I went to TJ-Maxx and Stein Mart because they have cute stuff that’s not expensive,” she said. “Since I have so much already, there was no need to buy a ton.”
The NRF predicted that the average college student’s family would spend $616.13 on apparel, furniture, school supplies and electronics in preparation for the 2010 school year.
Furnishing an apartment falls on the pricier end of the study. Sarah Oliver ’14 spent the summer looking for a bedroom set and a couch for the apartment she just moved into in 221 Armstrong.
“I did a lot of asking around, talking to people who just graduated who may have extra stuff they didn’t need,” Oliver said. “I also went to antique stores and thrift stores because sometimes you can find quality stuff for cheap. I definitely wasn’t going to a nice furniture store.”