Apartment Living or Living Space?


Article and pictures by Annika Beal, Contributing Writer

According to the McKendree website, West apartments are “Apartment style residential areas with each apartment consisting of two bedrooms and two bathrooms, a full kitchen, and living and dining spaces.” All of these apartments are co-ed and are about half-mile away from campus. They come with an outdoor swimming pool and a club house with washing facilities and a main lounge. The apartments are supposed to have these basics, but I want to see what McKendree students have to say about them. I interviewed three fellows who all lived in different apartment buildings: Hope Gramly, 1201, Erin Stroberg, 1219, and Alissa Zeitelhack, 1207. Let’s talk about the similarities and differences in opinion about the apartments.

The first person I interviewed was Hope Gramly, my roommate. We live in apartment 1201. The first thing she mentioned was that it is outdated. Specifically, “It is not correct for successful students.” By this she means the cleanliness affects student’s health. In our apartment we have mold, stains, and other unhealthy bacteria to affect our health, make us sick, and put a lot of stress on us in addition to everything else. There are bugs outside of our doors and in the main staircase which affect the cleanliness as well. To make things easier, Hope suggests having our own washer and dryer either in each building or in our room. The walk isn’t bad to the clubhouse, but it would make things easier if they didn’t have to take it all to the clubhouse and worry about if people are stealing clothes, or long waiting times for the washer and dryer. Another thing that might help lower stress levels in our specific apartment is the deck. Our deck is not stable and looks like it could easily break if more than two people are on it. Hope would love to go outside and enjoy the weather when she can, but she does not feel safe when she is out there.

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These are the bugs outside of Hope Gramly’s door to her apartment in 1201.

The next person I interviewed was Erin Stroberg. She lives in apartment 1219 A. The first thing she said is she liked how clean the living room area feels. Her carpets are newer, so it gives a nicer look and more cleanliness feel to the apartment. Erin, along with her friends that come over, feel like they can take off their shoes and walk around comfortably. Her guests and friends are coming from their parked cars and, depending on the day, could be walking some distance to get there. Erin agrees that in addition the living conditions at West, there should be more parking added to this complex. Also, outside of the apartment, Erin also thinks there should be laundry in the apartment complex or in her building. She said, “The walk all the way from 1219 is not one I want to make or even drive.”

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This is Hope Gramly’s porch at 1201.

Another issue is that there need to be more closet space and more storage in general. One of the rooms has a walk-in closet and the other room gets stuck with a closet the size of truck bed. Throughout the rooms there are a few things that roommates have to fight over and if everything was the same size, it wouldn’t be a problem. As far as the beds go, Erin said a necessity is memory foam for the mattresses. Without one, you will be uncomfortable. Some other small factors Erin pointed out were that on the inside, her kitchen is well equipped. Her fridge space is sufficient, her dishwasher works well, and she feels as if she can cook safely. All in all, Erin thinks it is a decent living condition and she doesn’t mind living at West, but “It isn’t the best apartment I have seen, and maybe we don’t pay as much, but it is run down. It has all the necessities I need though.”

The last person I interviewed was Alissa Zeitelhack. She lives in 1207. Last year, her apartment got flooded after a huge storm came through and almost everything was ruined. They had to relocate until their apartment was renovated and once it was, everything was new including their carpets, cabinets, and some appliances. One of their biggest problems with the apartments is the no pet rule unless it is an emotional support animal. They think since it is an apartment, you should be allowed to have your pet with you and if anything happens, you should pay for it. The next thing her and her roommate really advocated for was recycling. They believe that no matter how much more it costs, McKendree should have recycling trucks come. “We should have it on campus and do our part for the environment,” Alissa said.

Next, they talked about parking and the clubhouse. Parking for them is always available because they have a big lot next to 1207 which always has parking, but they mentioned for everyone else it would be hard. Also, their walk to the clubhouse to do laundry isn’t bad but if they had laundry in their building or room, it would be more convenient. She mentioned that at Bearcat Den, they have building laundry units which could make things easier. Another major problem for them is the wifi. Specifically, in their building, many people have complained that it doesn’t work, or it isn’t strong. Some other minor problems are their dishwasher smells up the room when it runs, which they got fixed, but now it doesn’t dry the dishes fully, and some burners don’t work on their stove. Alissa and her roommate, along with everyone else, have a bug problem and want equal space. Either all the bathrooms need to have bathtubs or just showers, and the closet space needs to be the same. Alissa wants a bath because she likes to take them, but she has never had a problem with the water or temperature pressure. To sum everything up she said, “They give us just under enough to be okay.” She likes the living space and thinks it is decent.

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These are the renovated cabinets at Alissa Zeitelhack’s apartment at 1207.

Many students living at West have the same kinds of problems. There is a bug problem in many of the apartments, not all of the space and appliances are the same, and everyone would like to have a laundry room in their apartment. Although there are many things the students want to change, they all said it is a decent apartment style space and they don’t mind living at McKendree West. It may not be the most picture-perfect apartment, but it gives them what they need.

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This is the carpet at Erin Stroberg’s apartment at 1219.