Thursday, November 29, 2012

Holiday decorations light up campus

By Taylor Lunka, News Reporter
It’s that time of year again—time to deck the halls.
    While students in the residence halls decorate for the holiday season, Residence Life reminds students of the decorating policies.
    Rebecca Rumpza, residential life facilities coordinator, said that although these policies change little from year to year, students need to be informed of them in order to maintain safety in the halls.
    The winter decoration guidelines include policies such as no live Christmas trees or greens in the rooms, no items attached to or hung from the sprinkler heads and to remove all holiday decorations prior to winter break.
    Mercy Daramola, resident director for Ordal and Stuen halls, said she doesn’t think there will be problems with decorating.
    “From my experience with the Halloween decorating policy,” Daramola said, “students had fun, respected the guidelines and made the residence halls look fun and festive.”
    These guidelines aren’t enforced to take away fun Daramola said, but enforced to keep the residence halls safe.
    “The driving force behind these policies is to maintain fire safety hazards in the halls,” Rumpza said.
    At the same time, Rumpza said  this is the time of year to celebrate.
    “It’s important people feel like it’s their home. Our residence halls are residence halls and not dorms because it is about a community and not just a place to store gear,” Rumpza said.
    She wants students to remember that PLU is a community that welcomes all. Rumpza said the residence halls “need to be inclusive to the whole [Pacific Lutheran University] community.”
    Daramola said as long as it’s not excluding someone, students are allowed to decorate however they like.
    “Be safe, have fun with your decorations, express yourself and your holiday traditions and continue to uphold the PLU mission of openness and respecting others,” Daramola said.
    First-year Mariel Latshaw, an on-campus resident, has her own views of these policies as a student.
    “I don’t understand why we have to take decorations down before winter break. It seems silly,” Latshaw said.
    Resident assistants will be checking students’ rooms before winter break to ensure that these policies are being followed.
    “The holidays should be a happy time and I don’t see why they’re trying to restrict us, but I understand that we have to be safe,” Latshaw said.
    Holiday decorating policies are enforced in the residence halls year-long to ensure safety.