By Isabel Gibson Penrose, Opinions Editor
On Thursday, April 14 the Gettysburg students that have previously used on-campus storage received an email with the subject line: “Do you have student storage needs?” For many, the answer is yes. Up until this year, Gettysburg students who live more than 10 hours away by car (and some students who applied, even though they lived closer) could store their things in the basement of Apple Hall free of charge. This policy is changing, and students who use storage were only notified last week.
Now students are given three options. First, they can use Groff’s Moving and Storage. This is the cheapest option: there is a $32 fee on top of paying per unit for storage, but no unit runs more than $11.40 to store.
Unfortunately, Groff’s is only available to pick up student belongings for two days, and will only drop them off Sunday, August 28 (the day before classes to start). This means if you arrive on campus early, as many resident advisors, orientation leaders, athletes and even members of the Gettysburgian staff are asked to, you’ll have to go without your stuff until the day before classes start.
The storage site offers this friendly note: “Early arrival students, please note: if you are approved to return to campus early, please plan accordingly to have what you need until you can retrieve your belongings.” How are you supposed to “have what you need” when all your belongings are in storage? Students that fly to and from campus literally don’t have the space for everything they need–that’s why they use on-campus storage in the first place.
The second option is All College Storage. This service will pick up and drop off belongings when you schedule, but it is more expensive. Their website says the average student can pack their belongings into five boxes; at $45 a box the average student will be shelling out $225 for storage that used to be free.
So far, the new storage policy either inconveniences you or costs you a small fortune. The last option is listed is “Any of the local self-storage facilities.” The only one within walking distance is LTP rental, which charges $40 a month (plus a $10 set-up fee and sales tax on top of that) for a 5’x10’ room and does not offer pickup or drop-off services.
Junior Yanet Gonzalez, who is from California, expressed her frustration with the policy change, saying, “When I toured this school they specifically mentioned how we didn’t have to worry about storage because the school provided on-campus storage at no cost.”
I used the free storage on Gettysburg’s campus every summer I was a student here, as well as the semester I was studying abroad. Not only was it a huge financial help to me and my family, it was comforting knowing that when I came back to school my belongings would be right on campus waiting for me. The new options offered are adequate, but none are as convenient (economically or location-wise) as free, on-campus storage was.
Gettysburg doesn’t have enough space to hold the belongings of all students–fine, but this can’t be a sudden revelation. Letting students know with less than a month left of school is very unfair on the part of the college. Flying to school is already more of a financial burden than driving and now international students, as well as those of us who live in the U.S. but are from too far to drive, are saddled with the additional burden of trying to figure out where to store our stuff and how to pay for it.
At the very least this policy should only come into effect for the incoming class of 2020. Many current Gettysburg Students who do not live within driving distance counted on the college for storage, and this swift change of policy without student input is unfair and very out of character for a campus that usually puts students first.