Witte Residence Hall, lovingly referred to as “shitty Witte” by University of Wisconsin students, is one of the largest freshman public dorms in the Southeast neighborhood of campus. Shower shoes, the germs of more than 70 students per floor floating in the air and spontaneous fire alarms at the break of dawn aren’t exactly the selling point of dorm life, but it’s all about the experience, right?
I’ve heard some chatter about possible renovations to Witte this spring semester, but I had forgotten about all of that after the conclusion of last semester. It wasn’t until last week when I received an email from University Housing that shit got real.
The email stated renovations to Witte would begin in March. It closed with a friendly “we wish you the best for a fun, successful spring semester,” but if you actually read the entire email, the rest of this semester will be too fun.
Like most college students, I value sleep. Yet University Housing does not respect this love for sleep, highlighted by the promise that that construction will begin promptly at 9 a.m. and entail “some noise and vibration during work hours.” Great! (That was sarcasm).
I know there are some morning people out there who probably won’t feel in any way affected by this, but anyone who enjoys waking up extremely early is not someone I want to be associated with.
I’ve walked through my dorm’s lobby and seen the computer-generated photographs of the model the renovations will be based on. I must say they do look quite nice but are completely unnecessary.
We don’t need a fancy studying area; there’s already the Linne lounge, dens on each floor and the eerily quiet basement study dungeon. There are plenty of other places on campus to get work done such as … I don’t know … a library, perhaps? Witte functions pretty well the way it is when it comes to studies and work space.
The only thing Witte needs is more washing machines and dryers in the laundry rooms. There are only 10 washers per tower, and each tower holds approximately 500 students each (with more students living in the A tower).
Other than that, we don’t have to change Witte to extend its floors and make more room for students or make it look more modern and hip. The university can always force some extra students to live in the exile-esque Lakeshore neighborhood if overpopulation in Southeast is a problem.
I don’t know if any of y’all have ever been to Sellery, but it definitely needs to be fixed up before we try to turn Witte into some prestigious, high-end living space. Their dorm doors don’t even automatically lock when you close them. This means literally anyone could walk into your room without warning unless it’s locked on the inside. Also, their elevators are way more outdated than Witte’s.
Many group Sellery and Witte as separate but equal public dorms. We all know, realistically, that this just isn’t true. One of the two is always far more updated than the other. And we most certainly all know that Sellery rightfully deserves the “shitty” title more.
Witte doesn’t need to be super fancy to fulfill its purpose of providing decent living conditions for first-year students. Everyone bonds through the daily struggles of having to keep the volume down during quiet hours or the nerves when police officers are spotted in the halls.
Living with constant slight discomfort in small quarters with a bunch of random teenagers is all to build character. We don’t need to be pampered; that’s what living in the Hub Madison sophomore year is for.
Jill Kazlow ([email protected]) is a freshman intending to major in journalism.