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Sunday, July 5, 2020

OPINION: Better living comes at a cost

There are a wide variety of things that people in our society quickly take for granted, and at colleges, housing and dining are clear examples of this. On Friday, April 10, Western’s Board of Trustees voted to increase the costs of housing and dining by 3 percent, in order to pay for renovations in residence halls like Kappa and Nash that are happening as we speak. Some students have been up in arms over this, but for what reason?

Renovate means to restore something old, especially a building, to a good state of repair.

So costs are going up, but not without reason. The buildings that students live in are being restored. They are old and dated, and are being returned to a good state of repair. Why wouldn’t we want that?

Quality living can’t be provided to students without regular increases in housing costs, in order to offset inflation. This increase in cost won’t start until the beginning of next year which means the people who will be living on campus will directly benefit from the renovations and will get to see their money at work.

Living on campus is not only an exciting and new opportunity for incoming students, but also brings students so much closer to all of the resources they pay for. Certain fees within our tuition make it possible for our university to provide a plethora of resources to us.

The Student Health Center, located in the Student Services building, is a place we’ve all frequented when our health decreases. We’re always welcomed by polite nurses and seen quickly by professional staff for no cost. If we need to get around in Bellingham, we feel content knowing that we have access to any of the buses associated with the WTA, as Western subsidizes bus passes for students.

Living on campus means a short walk to class, food services and a gym facility that houses a rock wall, pool and variety of workout options. Campus facilities manages the cleanliness of the buildings, and even clean the bathrooms in hallway-style dorms.

With all this being said, in comparison to all other public universities in Washington state, Western still has the cheapest housing fees and a lot of Western students forget that. We are getting a solid education at a university ranked as one of the top in the Pacific Northwest and we’re getting it for a cost that’s much lower than most universities. To put this in perspective, just know that at Central Washington University housing is $10,983 per year.

Yes, we understand that no one wants to pay more money for the same service when they might not be able to physically see any really big changes. But it’s not like the university wants to take our money for no reason. These renovations are unavoidable and we have to pay for them. It’s important that we have some perspective on issues like this. Price increases may be evil, but it’s a necessary evil.

The Western Front Editorial Board is comprised of Anna Jentoft, Dylan Green, Brandon Stone and Stephanie Villiers.

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