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No common fridges in new dorms

MATT ROBLES/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Brodie Davis, a junior and RA at La Paz, inspects the community refrigerator in the dorm kitchen Saturday afternoon. Many residents never use these refrigerators, and the three new dorms on campus do not offer them.
By Natasha Bhuyan
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Monday, September 20, 2004
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Milk thefts, decaying groceries lead to elimination of fridges

In an attempt to stop milk theft and decaying groceries, Residence Life decided to eliminate common refrigerators from the new residence halls in the Highland Housing District.

Jim Van Arsdel, director of Residence Life, said the new residence halls, Villa del Puente, Posada San Pedro and Pueblo de la Cienega, do not have common refrigerators in their kitchens because of problems with theft and limited use in older halls.

Older residence halls at the UA have kitchens with a full-size common refrigerator that can be used by residents or residence hall staff to store larger food items. In addition, each individual room comes with a small refrigerator, shared by roommates.

Van Arsdel said there are large refrigerators in the new halls, but they are located in the staff office and are restricted to employee use, such as storing food for residence hall socials.

"We typically have a refrigerator that is for programmatic purposes in most of the halls, and that's all they get used for," Van Arsdel said.

Van Arsdel said there are no plans to remove existing common refrigerators from older halls.

Ed Gilhool, hall director for Posada San Pedro Residence Hall, said while he was hall director at Apache-Santa Cruz Residence Hall, a problem with the common refrigerator was that students would store food for too long, with unpleasant consequences.

"That common refrigerator wasn't heavily used and when it was, the food just sat," Gilhool said. "The ResLife staff would regularly have to clean out some not so nice things, (like) rotting food."

Van Arsdel said he hasn't heard complaints about the missing refrigerators from students or staff in the new halls, as the common refrigerators aren't popular with students and are now easier for staff to access.

Matt Stymfal, a mechanical engineering freshman, said he doesn't care about the change and doesn't even use his own refrigerator that much.

But Megan Kuchar, a veterinary science freshman and resident of Villa del Puente Residence Hall, said her personal room refrigerator does not provide enough room for both she and her roommate.

"It's kind of small, it's crammed," Kuchar said. "It's hard to fit food for two people."

According to Residence Life standards, students are not allowed to bring additional refrigerators into their rooms because they can overload electrical circuits and create fire hazards. Exceptions are granted for medical purposes through written permission from the hall director.

Mike Franklin, a pre-education junior and resident assistant at Villa del Puente, said there have already been students caught at the hall with additional refrigerators. The students were told to remove them, Franklin said.

Van Arsdel said another problem with common refrigerators in the older residence halls is food theft, despite the use of name labels.

"I used the freezer and people took my Otter Pops," said Laurel Johnson, an undeclared freshman and resident of La Paz Residence Hall. "I wanted to put them in a green beans box so no one would look in there."

Brodie Davis, a marketing junior and an RA at La Paz, said when he lived at Yavapai Residence Hall, food theft was such a widespread problem that the kitchen had to be closed a few times during the year.

Davis added that although La Paz has two large refrigerators for students, students do not use them because the walk to the kitchen is too far away.

"I didn't know we had a big refrigerator," said Rick Michlig, a theatre arts freshman and resident of La Paz. "I didn't even know we had a kitchen until last week."

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