My dorm finally decided to turn the heat on today, ending weeks of having to wear layers in my room. A friend of mine recently complained about being woken up at 7 a.m. by the cleaning staff “cackling” loudly in the boiler room directly below him. I haven’t even mentioned the walls that don’t necessarily need to be soundproofed, but definitely shouldn’t allow me to hear my dormmates’ conversations so clearly. Sorry for the complaints, but this does have a point.
Keeping my living arrangements in mind, imagine how I felt when I heard this story: 350 students at St. Mary’s College in Maryland were evacuated from their dorms because of a mold outbreak and will be housed on – wait for it – a cruise ship. While 100 students have been put in off-campus housing or vacant dorms, 250 of these displaced students have been housed aboard The Sea Voyager docked in the St. Mary’s River.
“Over the years, we have often joked, ‘Wouldn’t it be great to have an off-shore residence hall?’” St. Mary’s president Joseph Urgo told The Washington Post. “Their rooms will be a little smaller, but they’ll have full use of all the amenities on the ship: the ballroom, the state room, the shuffleboard.”
This is not the first time something like this has happened: Tulane University students and faculty took refuge on the MV Dream for several months after Hurricane Katrina. Of all the schools to take these measures, it makes sense it would be St. Mary’s, a school that, according to The Washington Post, “defines itself as a center of scholarship and sailing.” Plus, Urgo said renting the cruise ship cost the school less than paying for hotel rooms for every student.
Urgo justified his novel housing solution to NBC Washington: “One of the reasons that students choose a residential college is so that they don’t have to worry about housing and food, and they can concentrate on their studies. We want them to return to that.”
Photo: The Baltimore Sun