Students weigh in on furniture plan

Photo by Hannah Khan.

Hannah Khan
Contributing Writer

Residential Life and Housing gave students the opportunity to look at what could potentially be their new bedroom during the first Residential Life & Housing Furniture Fair on Tuesday in the Commons.

Five vendors set up mock bedrooms, allowing students to personally see and rank different types of furniture and give their opinions on the different colors, materials and setup of the mock dormitory. Students ranked the durability, comfort and overall appearance of the furniture presented.

With two new residence halls in the process of construction, Residential Life and Housing plans on using the student surveys to choose new furniture for the buildings, and also plans to refurbish some of the older buildings such as the Gladding Residence Center and Johnson Hall. This project will begin during the summer, while new residence halls will be the first to receive new furniture.

According to Allison Patel, the assistant director of facilities/ conferences, furnishing all of the buildings which need renovation could be a process which takes place over the course of the year. The estimated cost reaches between $500,000 to $1.5 million depending on the selected vendor, as well as how many buildings will be furnished.

“Some of the halls have furniture that is probably 30 to 40 years old,” Patel said. “Students have expressed their concern and we want to let them know that their voice was heard.”

Patel said the new furniture is a much-needed investment for VCU, especially considering the age of the current furniture in the residence halls.

Representatives from Southwest Contract, Mastercraft, Eco Furniture, Virginia Correctional Enterprises and Foliot Furniture showcased their bedroom displays, including loft beds, maple wood and colorful designs. These companies have furnished other universities including James Madison University and the University of Virginia.

Tyriq Taliferro, Residential Hall Association executive board member and sophomore biochemistry major, attended the initial proposal meeting for the new furniture in late November, where the Residential Hall Association took over 1,880 student surveys of on-campus housing conditions and chose potential vendors that matched the concerns of the students.

“A lot of people were complaining about their furniture being scratched up or their beds being too small,” Taliferro said. “People don’t want to live in an ugly cramped environment.”

Junior chemistry major Matt Langhorst visited the displays, and said he was impressed with the student involvement in the decision.

“It’s nice to know housing cares what students think,” Langhorst said. “These vendors came from everywhere to display their work and I think VCU chose some great options.”

Langhorst’s favorite vendor, Ecologic Furniture, was popular among many students who valued the sturdy and eco-friendly aspect of the mock dorm room. While he and other students may have already chosen a favorite, according to Patel, numerous factors including cost and space will play a major role in deciding just how the university will furnish their residence halls.

 

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