Valparaiso University will begin a new initiative for the 2021-2022 academic year by adding microfridges to every residential hall room. The announcement was made on April 23 via email and on their Instagram account (@valporeslife).
Prior to this addition, students were able to rent a microfridge, microwave and minifridge combo, through Valpo’s partner, Collegiate Concepts. The decision to include them in the rooms was influenced by the pandemic.
“It was inspired by COVID in the sense that students need to be in their space a little bit more. We just thought it would be really beneficial for students to have their own microwave and fridge in their room there at the beginning of the year for them and not have to worry about bringing one,” said Karen Nelli, the Assistant Director of Residential Life.
Microfridges will be installed before move-in in every dorm room in the following residential halls: Alumni, Beacon, Brandt, Guild and Memorial, Lankenau and Wehrenberg. Special interest housing, including the Sorority Housing Complex, Promenade Apartments and the Kade-Duesenberg German House, will not have this installation due to their community kitchens and adjusted meal plans.
Students receiving a microfridge in their room aren’t permitted to bring another minifridge as it has the potential to overdraw electrical outlets. They will not have to fill out any forms accepting the unit and will not be able to opt out of its installation. While it’s highlighted that students will benefit from this initiative, more factors have been considered during the process of establishing the new addition.
“The other benefit we saw is that it’s a lot less wear and tear on the building, it’s much better for the environment because we’re utilizing the same unit in the same space every year that’s going to be cleaned annually,” Nelli said.
Students won’t experience additional fees for the microfridge inclusion as it will already be covered in the cost of housing. The university also signed a five year agreement with the Collegiate Concepts that allows Valpo to receive the microfridges for a discounted rate. At the end of the five years, Valpo will reassess and decide to either potentially upgrade the units or explore other programs.
With the increase of microfridge units that will be on campus, the university will be altering the maintenance process as well. Initially, the student would file a work order in a separate system from Valpo’s because they were considered the leaseholder of the unit. Now, students will have the opportunity to submit a work order like submitting a work order for their dorm room.
“Our office will actually work with our on-campus microfridge representative to remedy and repair the issue. We currently have an on-campus microfridge representative and we will continue to have that position, the backend will look a little different, but from the student perspective, it’ll be a lot more streamlined,” Nelli said.
Nelli is hopeful that students will appreciate this new initiative.
“We’re pretty excited about it from a student perspective because we think it takes a lot of pressure packing and prep off your plates,” Nelli said.