Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
Last spring, Rachel Head, the Director for the Office of Student Engagement, announced the College would be phasing out dorm storage, free space available to students storing items over the summer or during a term abroad in the basements of many dorms. The Daily Gazette asked Head why the school was phasing out dorm storage.
According to Head, the College is closing dorm storage mainly because cleaning out it bears a significant cost for the school. Students often leave or forget their items in dorm storage and despite the college’s no-food policy, students will sometimes store food in dorm storage and other students return to find their stored items covered in pests.
The college also does not have enough staff to manage the more than 15 storage locations on campus, which must be opened by an RA many different times when students are moving in and out. After a review of comparable peer institutions, the College decided the management of dorm storage placed too much of a burden on RAs.
In an email exchange with The Daily Gazette, Head said “the space[s] [were] not being used wisely, and could be redistributed in a way that benefits the entire community (furniture storage, student organization storage, etc.).”
The last time students will be able to store items in dorm storage will be this coming Spring 2015.
Daunted by Swat Storage prices (which stores small boxes for $15, large fridges for $70, and charges double for study abroad student storage), Paul Green ‘16 has been working with Head to put together a cheaper alternative: the Swarthmore Storage Cooperative.
In groups of approximately 10, Swarthmore students can apply to the Cooperative for as much storage space and as many boxes as they need. This project will hopefully launch this coming Spring 2015 move-out, but students will receive an email over winter break about the cooperative to give them time to form groups.
Green is currently negotiating to have the College provide vans and boxes for this initiative. Head is firmly in support. She said “We are absolutely willing to work with him… If we can help organize transportation so that students can partner up to share storage over the summer, it seems like a win-win.”