By John Ployer
The Dutch Inn has housed nearly one hundred UPEI students since September (photo credits: Alexander Chang Ojeda)
In 2019 UPEI and the Dutch Inn came to an agreement which allowed up to one hundred UPEI students to rent rooms from the hotel throughout the school year.
Two students who have lived there since September told the Cadre what they thought about the arrangement. They discussed what they liked, and what needs improvement.
Alexander Chang Odeja said he was surprised just how far away the Dutch Inn was from UPEI, saying that the distance and lack of transportation were serious issues.
â€œI was very surprised to see how far it was from everything. I had thought it was going to be a lot closer to campus,â€ he said.
â€œIt was really hard at first. Some students were forced to walk from the Dutch Inn to UPEI. Once the cold weather began that became impossible.â€
Transportation and accessibility were the biggest issues expressed by both students. There is no sidewalk from the Dutch Inn to the bus stop, making travel difficult and sometimes treacherous.
Only a handful of students at the Dutch Inn own cars.
Another issue for both students were the â€œroom checks.â€ Semi-regularly UPEI staff member inspects the rooms to see if they are clean. Failure to clean your room after inspection results in a fine.
For Ojeda, it feels like a privacy violation, especially when it occurs during the exam period.
The other Dutch Inn resident, a first-year international student who wishes to stay anonymous, also said transportation was also the biggest issue.
This student had bought a meal plan on campus. He said that the distance and lack of transportation meant that a few times he could only eat on campus once in a day.
â€œSometimes because of the distance you donâ€™t have the time or the transportation to actually come here, so sometimes you have to spend extra money.â€
While more buses now come to the Inn, most notably on Sundays, he says transportation still needs to be improved.
â€œItâ€™s still lacking a little. More buses on evenings and Saturday would be really nice.”
When asked if he would have lived there if he had a choice, he said it was never a choice for him — it was the only housing option he could find.
â€œDefinitely I thank the university for having the option because if not I would be without a home right now. If I had a choice, I would have set up any other another arrangement.â€
Both students said the staff of the Dutch Inn and the Off-Campus Student Advisors have been helpful to them. The anonymous student made it clear he was satisfied with the state of his room.
Both students also said there is a sense of community amongst the students who are there and they enjoy doing activities together, they just wish UPEI did more to provide them with entertainment options.
In a statement to the Cadre, UPEI said that students were provided with information on what the property was like before they arrived.
â€œStudents were provided with a link to the Dutch Inn website as well as documentation describing the property and room types available. This included pictures of the various room types,â€ UPEI says.
UPEI also said that so far the measurement of student satisfaction has been â€œvery informal.â€
When asked about how they would assess the partnershipâ€™s success after the first semester UPEI said the partnership going well and is still developing.
â€œLike any new initiative, the agreement between UPEI and the Dutch Inn has been developing. This has been a new venture for both parties but with good communication between the Dutch Inn Staff and UPEI, it continues to proceed favourably.â€