For Castleton students, the life of luxury and pleasure may be over.With rising economic pressure, students are beginning to become more cautious on what they spend and do in terms of entertainment and living needs. Many students say they are already beginning to feel the penny pinch. Major food costs combined with gas prices above $4 a gallon have become expenses that they just cannot handle.
Student Dan Conley explained how living off campus has become a major hassle, and said he doesn’t know what to do when winter comes around in terms of heat and oil costs.
“My roommates have talked and we have decided we’re not going to put the heat on. We’re gonna sit tight and wear sweatshirts instead,” Conley said.
Sophomore Ralphy Celestin agreed that times are tough saying that things need to improve economically to help ease the pain.
“Gas is the only thing that has affected almost everyone around me. We need to go into Iraq and get that oil baby!” he said passionately.
Some students say they struggle just to find ways to get to campus when school is in session.
“I actually have to hitch hike about 120 miles to school every time,” said Castleton student Roy Mercon.
Dennis Proulx, the director of Residence Life, is mostly concerned with how students are dealing with the costs of rising food and gas prices.
“It would appear that there are indeed less cars on campus this year. It might be a reflection of the economy or just parking problems, I don’t know,” he said.” In terms of food concerns, what I do know is that what we have seen is that this year more students are choosing the unlimited plan because they may be concerned with the price of food. It has become a big burden on us due to rising prices from other local venders.”
Michael Williams, director of dining services on campus, said he is feeling the crunch too, with food costs having risen an estimated 15 to 20 percent from last year. Despite that, he said costs to students have not risen.
“Not at all,” he said. “We’re absorbing it.”
Gregory Stone, the college’s dean of students, says that the hardship students have now will hopefully only be temporary.
“Our concern is that the state is making decisions, that we can absorb, but there might be more budget and tuition concerns that might affect our college later on,” Stone said. “Students have begun to find it more difficult to pay their bills.”
But with all the struggles, many believe that the best way to get around this crisis is to conserve energy and to continue looking for better jobs. J.D. Jackson found one, working for the United States Air Force as a staff sergeant. He said if you work hard enough, success will come.
“You can’t just sit around and complain all the time. You need to decide to take the world by your hands and use that toward your advantage. The economy is only bad if you make it that way yourself. You need to take every situation as it comes, no matter if you are poor or rich,” Jackson said.