Opinion: The Ethics and Sustainability of Dorm Living

Challenges of College Dorm Living: Overcrowding and Mental Health Concerns

Title: The Ethical Dilemma of College Dorm Living: A Closer Look

Walking into a college dorm room can be a jarring experience, especially when faced with the reality of sharing a small space with a stranger. The lack of privacy and cramped living conditions can have a significant impact on both physical and mental health. In this blog post, we will delve into the ethical dilemma of college dorm living and explore potential solutions to improve the well-being of students.

The Impact on Health:
Overcrowded living spaces, such as college dorm rooms, have been shown to increase the transmission of diseases. The World Health Organization’s study highlighted the risks associated with overcrowding, especially in the context of a global pandemic like COVID-19. Additionally, the lack of alone time and private space can lead to heightened levels of stress, anxiety, and depression among students.

The Cry Closet Controversy:
The creation of a “Cry Closet” by a student at the University of Utah during exam week sparked a debate about the need for private spaces on college campuses. While some students found solace in the closet filled with stuffed animals, others questioned why the university had not addressed the issue of privacy and mental health support.

The Mega-Dorm Solution:
Universities, in an attempt to accommodate more students, have resorted to building mega-dorms with questionable living conditions. The case of Munger Hall at the University of California Santa Barbara raised concerns about the lack of natural sunlight and small room sizes, comparable to solitary confinement cells. This raises ethical dilemmas regarding student housing and well-being.

Seeking Solutions:
While the solution to the ethical dilemma of college dorm living may not be straightforward, there are potential avenues for improvement. Implementing more suite-style rooms, providing easier access to coping mechanisms like cooking and working out, and investing in mental health facilities are all steps that universities can take to prioritize the well-being of their students.

College dorm living is a longstanding tradition in American universities, but it is essential to address the ethical implications of overcrowded and communal living spaces. By acknowledging the impact on health and well-being, universities can work towards creating a more supportive and conducive environment for students. Until then, students may continue to seek solace in their makeshift closets, highlighting the need for change in the way we approach college dorm living.


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