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No more lounging around

It’s an unfamiliar sight when the elevator doors open on the fifth floor of Ellicott Hall. Instead of being greeted by the unlocked doors of an air-conditioned lounge, students once again find themselves facing closed doors with paper over the windows.

Because of the university’s housing crunch, seven lounges that were once used for studying, hanging out and floor meetings now serve as dorm rooms, allowing for an extra 31 beds. Associate Director of Resident Life Jan Davidson said the university was faced with the option of either converting smaller doubles into triples or converting lounges.

For those living in the lounges, life is good. Even with four students, rooms are spacious and air-conditioned, but it’s hard to avoid detecting some bitterness in others.

“We can’t do dishes, don’t have a microwave, and I’m just jealous they get an air-conditioned room,” said freshman astronomy and physics major Brian Sullivan.

Sophomore Resident Assistant Joseph Rothleutner doesn’t see the converted lounges as too big of an inconvenience for students.

“We take turns holding our floor meetings in the sixth floor lounge just as other buildings who don’t have lounges on every floor do,” he said. Rothleutner described the lounges as more of a place to study than one to socialize and says said his residents have been bonding normally.

However, some students aren’t quite so content with the situation.

“I don’t like that I’m not in it, but I think it’s pretty cool [for those who are],” said freshman operations management major Mark Mullauer.

Despite the fact that microwaves and open lounges are on other floors, students seem reluctant to use them.

“It’s easier to just not get anything” than to use the other microwaves, said Sullivan. “It’s pretty inconvenient,” added freshman engineering major Laura Hereford. “I have food that I haven’t eaten because we don’t have a microwave on our floor.”

On top of losing the microwave, full-sized refrigerator and sink, students also don’t have recycling bins.

“I like recycling a lot, but now we have to lug it all downstairs,” said freshman Kathy Tang, showing off her improvised recycling bin made from a cardboard box.

Despite the discontent among students outside the double doors that lead to a lounge-no-more in Ellicott, the atmosphere inside is different.

Visitors are greeted by cool air, four beds spaced comfortably apart and a private kitchen-like area in the corner.

“It’s paradise,” said Gabriel Fonte, one of four living in the former fifth floor lounge.

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