By Sarah Asinof | News Editor
I, like many Baylor freshmen women, made the brave decision to live in Ruth Collins Hall my first year at Baylor. Before coming to college, my soon-to-be roommate assured me that living in Collins was the way to go. The social life, history and proximity to the Stacy Riddle Forum made Collins the place to be as a young, eager freshman woman.
Leaving Collins open, without completely renovating it goes against Baylor’s mission statement. According to the Baylor website, “The mission of Baylor University is to educate men and women for worldwide leadership and service by integrating academic excellence and Christian commitment within a caring community.”
Firstly, Baylor says they strive to create a caring community. Having Collins open, after 50 years of barely even replacing the carpet, makes Baylor seem a little hypocritical. According to Baylor’s Campus Living and Learning, 600 freshmen women, the majority in fact, live in Collins every year. Shouldn’t that number be enough to make sure the largest dorm on campus facilitated a caring community? By having that building operational, with little to no renovations, Baylor does not facilitate a caring community. It ignores freshmen needing a home in Waco as they transition into young adulthood.
Furthermore, the lack of natural lighting doesn’t provide an environment that reduces stress and anxiety. According to Brenda McMahon of the Neurobiology Research Unit at the Copenhagen University Hospital, “The light simply improves the communication between the regions of the brain that are central to our handling of emotions such as stress and anxiety.” The lack of natural lighting that flows through Collins, doesn’t allow for young women to come home to a stress-free environment.
Even more so, the frustration and stress alone to maintain a dust-free room in Collins adds an enormous to weight to freshmen year. The Australian Health Department, finds that “breathing in high concentrations of dust over many years is thought to reduce lung function in the long term and contribute to disorders like chronic bronchitis and heart and lung disorders.” Due to the age of Collins, the vents are old and produce an excess amount of dust which could affect residents’ health. Baylor should make sure that the living situations at Baylor are of the highest quality, so that students’ health isn’t at risk.
Then, the topic of the water, makes taking a shower and doing laundry a hassle. Every time I put my clothes into the washer, they came out dull and the color was almost ruined. When I wanted to refresh myself with a nice shower, my hair almost felt more gross by the time I stepped out.
According to an email sent out to Collins residents in fall 2017, Baylor uses hard water instead of soft water. Hard water, while not extremely detrimental to one’s health, isn’t the best type of water to shower in. APEC Water finds that “In the laundry, hard water leaves soap curd and detergent deposits on fabrics. This dulls colors and gives a grey or yellow appearance to white fabrics,” and it makes grooming difficult because it doesn’t combine well with body soap and shampoo. Overall, the physical environment in Collins adds unneeded stress and hassle which doesn’t cultivate a caring community.
Lastly, Baylor’s mission statement, which makes complete sense, focuses primarily on current students and what Baylor can do to make their experience beneficial for the future. With the announcement of the new welcome center, while it is planned to be a beautiful building that will serve as a great welcome to the campus, it isn’t right to build a $40 million building for prospective students when Collins exists in its current condition. While future students are crucial to Baylor as an institution, Baylor needs to focus on current students before potential students.
There are many women who hold Collins near and dear to their heart. It has served as a home for multiple generations, and I think that alumni would donate money, as they did for the welcome center, to make Collins a better home for generations to come. It is wrong for Baylor to raise money and prioritize a huge welcome center when their current students aren’t getting their needs met. Especially when it is home a lot of freshman women. A Collins renovation would be worth the money, as so many people live there and use that facility everyday, whereas the welcome center visitors fluctuate daily.
Overall, I don’t regret living in Collins. It blessed me with fond memories and friendships that I believe will last a lifetime, but it also damaged a lot of my expensive household items, made taking a shower feel worse than if I didn’t and added time to my everyday list of things to do because of constant cleaning. It made my freshman year harder than it needed to be.