It is the fifth week of the academic year and Stony Brook students living at Brookhaven Residential Village at Dowling College are lacking consistent Internet access and struggling to adapt to a strict bus schedule.
“The only problems are the Wi-Fi and the buses,” Nadege Guerin, a junior psychology major on the pre-health track who lives 20 miles away at Brookhaven Residential Village, said. “Everything else I don’t mind. The people are cool, and it’s a good living situation.”
Brookhaven Residential Village, or BRV as its students call it, is housing 200 Stony Brook transfer students who otherwise would not be able to live on campus due to the increase of students living on campus this semester.
Graphic by Paul Mannarino
The dormitories are suite style with a large common room, a full kitchen, two or three double bedrooms and two bathrooms.
“If they were to pick up Brookhaven and bring it over to Stony Brook I’d be happy,” Guerin said.
While Stony Brook has a two-year contract with Dowling College, new dormitories that will add 759 beds to the campus are being constructed on Toll Drive and are estimated to be completed by fall of 2016.
Matthew Paige, a junior biology major from Westchester, also said the internet and the bus schedule are what inconvenience students.
“The internet is very slow, very slow like you’re lucky if you get connection. In order to get connection, I usually go down to the lobby because that’s where the router is,” he said.
Paige said students were given ethernet cords to get connected while the Wi-Fi is being fixed, but his new MacBook doesn’t have an ethernet port.
“It’s the fourth week in, and we’re still trying to compete with other students just like everybody here,” Paige said. “The slower Internet is a little bit of a cripple because we’re expected to do the same amount of work as everyone else but we don’t have the resources to be able to accomplish that. They have to fix this quicker.”
Jessica Szlaz, a junior biology major from Rockland County, said that she has to maneuver and plan her day around the Wi-Fi. “This morning I woke up at 6 in the morning to see if the Internet was working,” she said. “If it doesn’t I have to take the 7 o’clock bus to SBU to finish my school work. It’s just stressful.”
Paige, Szlaz and other BRV students said that they take advantage of the Internet at Stony Brook, but it would also be nice to be able to get their work done in their home environment.
The week staff at BRV has conducted student surveys about the Wi-Fi issues and the computer lab hours at Dowling College to help them work on having consistent Internet for students. Students have been told that they are working on the problem.
BRV students without cars must rely on the shuttle buses to get them to and from BRV and SBU. Many students reported that it restricts what they can and cannot do throughout the day.
The last bus from BRV to SBU leaves at 4 p.m. on weekdays and the last bus from SBU leaves at 10:30 p.m., which means that if a student has a night class or an exam, he or she must take the 4 p.m. bus and wait. It also means that if BRV students were to have friends over, they would not be able to stay until after 4 p.m. unless they had a car.
“Our biggest fear is getting stuck on campus,” Szlaz said. She said that if you cannot find someone to pick you up, a cab could cost around $70.
“Being in by 10:30 p.m. is like treating BRV students like kids,” she said. BRV is also a dry, substance free building under Dowling College.
“It is a great dorm,” said Ofari Manson, a junior computer science major from the Bronx who spends a lot of time at Stony Brook. “It’s just the fact that we can’t come here and there whenever we want.” Manson said the clubs that he is interested in joining meet at night, and he is unable to attend them.
The students acknowledged that the bus schedule has improved since the first week of school and is still changing, but they said they hope to see more buses added throughout the day and later at night.
“The transportation is a little off, and the Wi-Fi should be fixed, but I would take this position again,” Manson said. “It’s a good place to meet a lot of people. If you like meeting people and making friends, it’s a great community.”