Today: Jul 17, 2024

Singing the Brownell blues Mackenzie’s Weekly Word on Brownell dorm life

Mackenzie Hurlbert Copy Editor

Last year it was mold. This year it’s toilets. Brownell just can’t seem to get it right. When I first moved in this fall, I truly realized how good I had it at West Campus last year. In Brownell, paint was peeling from the ceiling, the air seemed muggy, and the dehumidifier roared like a lawn mower. It wasn’t as pretty or polished as West, but I learned to love it and its flaws. The dehumidifier’s obnoxious humming has become white noise, and I’m really enjoying the extra space. It’s nice to have my own living room, shower and toilet—when it decides to work.

At least six times so far this semester, my three roommates and I have had to file emergency work orders because our toilet wouldn’t flush or was clogged. The reason isn’t due to amazingly large defecations, as one may assume. In fact, when I asked one of the frequently visiting custodians or plumbers, he said it was because the toilets are “eco-friendly” so they use less water and therefore don’t flush correctly. Eco-friendly appliances can be great; I’m all for saving the whales, recycling, and sustainable energy. But if it’s poorly made and breaks consistently, there’s really no advantage to having it! If the water-saving toilet doesn’t work, then I’ll just go use a regular toilet and waste that water, so in the end, it really doesn’t matter.

Photo Courtesy |
Brownell Hall is located next to commuter lot nine and near Wilkinson Hall.

Okay, so you probably think I’m just some toilet-obsessed weirdo, but you try living with a constantly breaking toilet! Frankly, it sucks, or doesn’t actually (haha get it?). I know I’m not the only one in Brownell plagued by this issue. These toilets were newly installed this year in many of the rooms in Brownell, and my good friend the custodian said that my room wasn’t the only one facing issues. Last year we had the mold problem, and it was fixed by dehumidifiers. This year we face constantly breaking toilets. How do they plan to fix that?

Another issue Brownell residents have faced this year was the broken keypad on the back entrance by the stairs. Somebody did a “Hulk Smash!” and tore the pound (#) key off of the keypad. Thank you, whoever did that, for messing up everyone’s entrance into Brownell. That’s the one key everyone needs to unlock the door, and now we have to walk around to the other entrance in order to get inside. I wouldn’t mind this detour usually, it’s really not that far, but tonight I definitely begrudged the extra walk while being pelted with raindrops and blasted with wind. Hopefully it is fixed soon, but considering it took three days for someone to respond to an emergency work order for our toilet, I wouldn’t be surprised if this repair took just as long, or even longer considering the technology involved.

All in all, living in Brownell really isn’t that bad. It’s pretty quiet over here, which I like, and it provides more space than my West double had. But while my tantrum over the faulty toilets may seem like an overreaction, enough is enough. I pay to live in Brownell in a room with a working, I repeat working, toilet. Likewise, I feel like I’m wasting my time, the custodian’s time, and a lot more water than is necessary constantly trying to fix this fickle toilet. I don’t know what the solution would be to such a widespread problem in the dorm. New, well-made toilets would most likely solve the issue; however that’s not quick or affordable. But this caused me to question, “When will the cost of new toilets be cheaper than hiring the custodians or plumbers to constantly tend to our problems?”

No matter the solution or if there is any, I think it will be a long time until our prayers are answered, and much thanks goes out to the custodians who respond to our multitude of work orders. They’re probably as sick of broken toilets as I am.

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