No home for the holidays

Resident assistants Leila Petit’de (middle), Maxwell Henderson (right), and Jaida Brown (left) preparing meals for the Thanksgiving dinner at the Lighthouse Commons on Nov. 21. Photo courtesy of Ryan Martin

By Luis Lopez-Crespo

The holidays are a time to spend with your loved ones, give thanks, and rejoice in the seasonal festivities. While some students are decorating their trees or planning their flights back home, other students are more concerned with whether they’ll be homeless this break.

“I’m kind of worried because at the moment I do not have a plan, and school finishes in like a week or so,” said 19-year-old Pallas Potter, a FSW softball player from New Zealand.

Her teammates, aware of her situation, have offered to take her in.

International or out-of-state students without family near FSW feel the pressure of finding a place to stay as winter break approaches.

“All my teammates have offered to take me in for Christmas, and I’m considering it, because they make the atmosphere more homely,” she said.

Not only has Potter been offered a place for winter break, she also spent her Thanksgiving with a roommate.

“I don’t have any family over here, but her family is like my family,” said Potter.

“We all know it’s rough being away from home, especially if it’s your first time,” said Victoria Mazy, a FSW dorm resident. “Everyone has that similar understanding, and we try our best to make each other feel at home. When you’re willing to make friends and go to the dorm events, it starts to feel like a close knit family.”

While some students can rely on friends or teammates, others are set on visiting home, even if it comes with a price.

“The availability in flights for my country was already a hassle,” said resident-assistant Leila Petit’de. Because of this, she will spend a few days at her boss’s home, as the dorms will close long before her flight date.

This is not the first time Petit’de will stay at someone else’s home for break. Summer courses are offered at FSW, but dorm students are expected to move out during the two-week break between mini-A and mini-B semesters.

“Last year, I luckily met people who let me stay with them for those two weeks,” said Petit’de. “Although it isn’t ideal, I’ve grown to say my goodbyes because I know that going back and forth isn’t possible.”

Dorm students are expected to move out by Dec. 10. Housing ensures everyone knows by sending multiple emails regarding the move out.

“We create a great environment for students to make friends and experience that last through the holidays,” said Tina Corbett, housing office assistant. “There’s no housing staff here for the holidays and it’d be difficult to ask them to give up their holiday as well.”

Corbett shared her own experience as a dorm student.

“My freshman year in college I was living in another state. I saved up for winter break, but couldn’t do the same for spring break. Fortunately, one of my friends took me in and it was a great experience,” she said. “I feel that the students here should do the same; making friends, networking, and creating experiences.”

Some students feel a little differently than Corbett.

“It’s definitely not a good thing for someone to get kicked out, however, you have to have a plan B of where to go during the breaks,” said James Alercia, an 18-year-old dorm resident. “However, not everyone is as lucky as others, some people have the luxuries to go multiple places while some unfortunately have nowhere.”

“I think if a student’s situation was looked at individually it’d be more fair as opposed to generalizing it,” said Austin Cruz, a freshman dorm student. “With this, alternatives then could be worked on and tailored for the specific individual.”

“Not all students have friends, families, or things to look forward to, and FSW seems to fail at understanding that,” said Joseph Szakacs, another freshman dorm resident. “Sure there’s the food pantry, but other than that there’s not much to offer.”

The Student Government Association at FSW has worked on finding resources with the intent of distributing them through flyers in the dorms and around campus.

These flyers are expected to provide contacts to food banks, homeless shelters, and additional services.

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