RU Reacts: Is Wabash Ready for Robert Morris?

By Jules Banks
Staff Reporter

Wabash Building, property of Roosevelt University, now joins other buildings in the Loop as it becomes a multi-school dorm building. (Brian Nguyen, Chicago Tribune.)

In the upcoming 2019-2020 school year, the Wabash Building will be opening its doors to not only Roosevelt students, but to Robert Morris University’s students as well. As of next semester, Robert Morris will be moving into an undisclosed amount of floors in the Wabash Building, filling the empty floors the building contains.

Although the school has sent an email newsletter detailing the RMU’s move-in, as well as The Torch reporting on it previously, several students felt as if they knew very little about the subject.

Anna Cosgrove, a freshman biology and psychology major that transferred to Roosevelt this semester, had not even been informed.

“I actually didn’t know, I just came in this semester,” Cosgrove said. “I just had a friend tell me they were coming in.”

Many students also found out through word of mouth, and many were not satisfied by the amount of information they could find.

“All I really know is that they are moving in,” Tanner Garmon, a freshman Wabash resident and CCPA musical theatre major, said. “So, I’m glad I know that. But that’s about it.”

When asked about whether this move would be good or bad for the university, students had mixed reactions.

“I feel like it would be great for the university,” said Deandra Domek, a freshman business major. “We have a really small university and at times, seeing the same people after a while gets annoying. So, to have more options, to meet new friends, meet new people, it’s exciting honestly,” Domek said.

Garmon had more reservations. “I think it’ll draw a little more income for the university, but I think that when the building was at max capacity a few days ago, the power went out and a lot of people didn’t have hot water, so to add a bunch of more students to that seems risky,” Garmon said. “Res life tries, but a lot of time they come up a little short with dealing with a lot of high pressure situations, so I don’t know how throwing in another few however many students is going to help them.”

However, Roosevelt was not wholly responsible for the two power outages, the Wabash Building faced during the coldest week of the year, where wind chills hit -55 degrees fahrenheit and under. Other parts of Chicago faced power outages. But, the outages has raised concern over the amount of strain that this new influx of students will add to the building and the RU staff’s ability to handle a crisis situation if another one happens. It is so far unclear and unreported as to how many RMU students are estimated to become residents.

In the past, Jamar Orr, the assistant provost for student affairs and dean of students, said at the start of last semester, the Wabash Building had 135 empty beds. “…That’s over a million dollars in revenue for the university,” Orr said.

Keith Tolbert, a resident currently working on a masters of business administration, said he was curious about the current residents’ reaction.

“People who go to Roosevelt probably would want to be first, you know what I mean?” Tolbert said. “Where they probably get first dibs to things, since they go to class in these buildings, whereas those students go across the street.”

Cosgrove said she was less concerned. “I feel like we have a pretty normal set of rules here and if they follow them it’ll be all good.”

“The only thing I can think of is the elevators being even more busy than they already are,” Jenessa Altvater, resident CCPA freshman and musical theatre major, said. “But that’s not a huge issue, it’s just small. And it’s probably the small things that will be issues.”

Despite the many differing opinions of the various Wabash students, some students said they were eager about meeting new students.

“It makes me more interested to stay another year, to meet new people and to see if I could benefit from meeting new people,” Domek said.

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