DSU students discuss best Mexican food spots

Mexican food is one of the most popular food types in the United States. Whether it is a taco stand, restaurant, food truck or a hole in the wall spot, you can never go wrong. Sometimes though, it is a bit tough to find truly authentic, good quality Mexican food.

Students coming from California can be skeptical about finding truly authentic Mexican food in Utah. Out of Utah’s 3.1 million population, only 14 percent is of Hispanic/Latino descent compared to California’s 39.5 million population and 39.1 percent being of Hispanic/Latino descent. Coming across a good Mexican restaurant anywhere in California is like finding grass at park. In southern Utah, it’s not as easy. Here are some local favorites here in St. George:

“La Cocina is a pretty great place,” said Bryahna Nall, a sophomore communication major from Ogden. “The best part about them is that they have $1 tacos every Wednesday.”

La Cocina’s menu isn’t the biggest, but everything they offer, whether it be burritos, tortas, tacos or quesadillas, will satisfy your cravings. They were ranked 28 on Insider’s 47 best taco joints in America. Some of the recommended items include the carne asada tacos and burrito, tinga (chipotle chicken) tacos and the al pastor tacos.

Sometimes the normal burrito or taco isn’t enough and you want to switch it up and get some al pastor fries or a mulita (essentially a taco sandwich) and have some aguas frescas (fresh fruit waters).

“I really love the authenticity of El Coyote,” said Diana Nordmark, a junior business administration major from Manti. “Their al pastor fries are my favorite thing on the menu.”

If you’re looking for that, El Coyote Charro is your place to go. They were ranked 47 on Insider’s 47 best taco joints in America. On Wednesdays they also have two for $1 on their tacos.

  • El Coyote Charro
    • Monday – Thursday 11 a.m. – 10 p.m., Friday 11 a.m. – 11 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. – 11 p.m., Sunday 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. Located at 757 N. Bluff St. and 969 N. 3050 E.

Jaedon Schwartz, a sophomore computer information technology major from Wiesbaden, Germany, said his favorite Mexican food place is Jalapeños because it’s a smaller “hole in the wall” spot that not a lot of people know about and their portions are great. They have two locations in St. George, but the one you want to go to is on Bluff Street, due to great quality being more consistent.

  • Jalapeños
    • Main location: Monday – Thursday 7 a.m. – 10 p.m., Friday – Saturday 7 a.m. – 11 p.m., Sunday 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. Located at 386 N. Bluff St.
    • Second location: Monday – Saturday 8 a.m. – 9 p.m., closed Sundays. Located at 795 E. 700 S.

One last local favorite is Cafe Sabor. Unlike the previous places mentioned, this is more of a sit-down restaurant than a grab a quick bite type of place. Even though it is a restaurant, the prices are reasonable compared to other restaurants. They have a bar area for those that are 21 and up and have $3 margaritas every Friday! Also, the carne asada fries are a must try according to their servers.

  • Cafe Sabor
    • Monday – Thursday 11 a.m. – 10 p.m., Friday – Saturday 11 a.m. – 10:30 p.m., Sunday 12 p.m. – 8 p.m. Located at 290 E. St. George Blvd.

Go out and try one or all of these spots. Who knows, maybe you’ll find your new favorite spot to eat.

Miss Native Dixie 2019 crowned

Family, friends and students gathered Jan. 29 in the Kenneth S. Gardner Center Ballroom to watch three contestants compete for the title of Miss Native Dixie 2019.

Amy Begaye, a sophomore radiological science major from Kayenta, Arizona, was crowned Miss Native Dixie 2019.

Other Miss Native Dixie royalty included first attendant Marissa Clitso, a sophomore psychology major from Kanab, and second attendant Farrah Duncan, a freshman criminal justice major from Farmington, New Mexico.

“I am actually really shocked about it and I am pretty happy,” Begaye said. “With this honor, I want to attend certain events back on my reservation and get Dixie State out there and encourage other Native Americans at the university to do the same thing.”

The three girls were scored on modern wear, on-stage questions from the judges, modern talent competition, and traditional talent competition. In addition, judges assessed other categories outside of the pageant, which include a private interview, written essay, academic achievement, service, and involvement within the university.

The event included a traditional opening prayer, a speech by Miss Dixie Elliana Habibian, a musical performance by Kaleb Jake and Mars Bloodgood of Cedar City, and a recognition of special guests attending the pageant.

Habibian said: “These girls are doing an absolutely amazing job. I know first hand how nerve-wracking it is to get up on stage. It takes a lot.”

Former Miss Native Dixie Taddrena Joe presented Begaye with her honorary sash and crown.

“Being Miss Native Dixie has been one of the best opportunities I have yet to experience here at [DSU], and I couldn’t have been any happier to have represented the Native population within and outside of [DSU],” said Joe.

Begaye received $1,000 in scholarship money from DSU, and Clitso received $500 in scholarship money.

You Can’t Stop Rock ‘n’ Roll: Steve Jones influences, formulated journey to rock ‘n’ roll

By Stephen B. Armstrong

As lead guitarist and occasional singer for the English punk band the Sex Pistols, Steve Jones participated in the making of some of the most memorable — and influential — popular music ever.

He first picked up the guitar in 1967 after hearing the Jimi Hendrix Experience’s “Purple Haze.”

“There was a catchiness about [the single] as well as the power, and I loved the syncopation, the way Hendrix’ guitar would kind of go ‘Clunk’ and ‘Weeeoh!’ I loved it so much,” Jones recalled in his 2017 autobiography, “Lonely Boy: Tales from a Sex Pistol.”

An autodidact, Jones taught himself to play guitar and write songs listening to rock and roll records. Early on, he emulated the pounding riffs of the Stooges’ Ron Asheton and the gentler chord arrangements of David Bowie’s axeman, Mick Ronson, during the singer’s glam period. The influence of these musicians on Jones was immense, enabling him to develop an approach to playing that by turns could be menacing, bruising, hushed and lovely.

The songs that comprise the Sex Pistols’ only studio album, “Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols (1977),”  are generally of the menacing, bruising sort, especially the anti-establishment anthems “Anarchy in the U.K.” and “God Save the Queen.”

But the Sex Pistols also had a softer side that was permitted to assert itself following the departure of the band’s original singer, Johnny Rotten, most notably on a track called “Lonely Boy,” which didn’t see a release until 1979. The song is quite punk, shot through as it is with naughty language and thudding rhythms: Jones’s guitar frequently sounds like a motorcycle revving its engine in an alley. But there is a detectable pathos in Jones’ singing at the same time, a quality of yearning that counters and offsets the song’s ruder moments, manifesting itself, for example, in the openings lines: “I’m left in misery / The girl I love’s gone across the sea / I’m all alone / I ain’t got no home.”

Not long after the Sex Pistols’ breakup, bass player Sid Vicious died from an overdose, and Johnny Rotten founded and started recording with a new band, Public Image Limited (PiL). Steve Jones and the Pistols’ drummer, Paul Cook, though, stuck together and formed their own new outfit, the Professionals.

More power pop than punk, the Professionals recorded just about 30 songs altogether. The tracks tend to be fast, loud, snotty and fun. Yet themes of restlessness, personal crisis and disenchantment work themselves into the compositions, enriching them. Such is the case with “Kick Down the Doors,” which has Jones’s soaring voice cry out bitterly “Go get ready now, ready to lose.”

In high school, my friend Hope and I had a chance to meet Steve Jones. He had come to our hometown, Annapolis, to promote his first solo record, “Mercy,” on one of the local radio stations. The album had yielded a hit, a poppy number more reminiscent of the Psychedelic Furs than the Sex Pistols, called “With You or Without You.” Much of the album’s other material was richer, slower, more melodic. Critics were taking note of the album’s relaxed, almost elegaic sound, too, and some even wondered if  Jones was going to get a second chance to radically change the way rock music is played.

When we approached Steve Jones that afternoon in the parking lot outside the station, he was very kind. He looked as a rock star in his prime should: tall, with thick golden hair that fell in curls over his shoulders. He gave each of us his autograph, smiling. It was a great moment.

I’ve been listening to Jones’s music ever since. Sadly, there isn’t a lot of it. He cut just one more solo record after “Mercy” called “Fire and Gasoline,” which traded the earlier record’s moody atmospherics for hard rock with heavy metal flourishes. And aside from session work, a reunion tour with the Sex Pistols in the mid-1990s and some novelty recordings with former members of Guns n’ Roses, Jones has been mostly quiet over the past 30 years.

Incidentally, I asked Hope the other day what she thinks about Steve Jones and the “Mercy” LP. In an email she explained, “It’s interesting hearing it now. [Yet] I’m wondering if its sound, which is so blues white rock, so glossily produced, is the thing for me at this moment.”

Never once have I thought of Steve Jones’s music as “blues white rock,” a term that always reminds me of characters like Joe Bonamassa and Jeff Heally. But what if Hope is right? What if an album I’ve enjoyed for 30 years is guilty of corporate sellout and tacky cultural appropriation? As a matter of fact, Steve Jones these days is a radio personality in Los Angeles, a city that thrives on phoniness and pretense.

All the same, though, boy, can that guy play guitar! And my interest in his work only grows.

Stephen B. Armstrong co-hosts Maximum Rock ‘n’ Roll Thursdays at noon on  Radio Dixie 91.3 FM.

Student brings Hollywood magic to campus, publishes books about ‘Golden Era’

If you have heard of the book “Marilyn Monroe: A Day in The Life,” it is possible you know the name April VeVea, the author behind the book who has turned her passion for the “golden era” of film into a promising career.

Since writing her book on Marilyn Monroe, the author from Bakersfield, California is busy turning her love of old Hollywood into more than a hobby. She appeared on Turner Classic Movies to talk about “She Done Him Wrong” during the channels appreciation of Mae West month.

“I have been doing stuff with old film now for over 10 years,” Vevea said. “I started getting back into it again when I was 18.”

VeVea said she stopped after her grandfather died because of the sentimental value the films brought her. She said that changed after she picked up “The Bombshell Manual of Style” by Laren Stover.

“It focused a lot on old Hollywood stars and it made me want to read about Marilyn Monroe,” VeVea said. “So, I got Donald Spoto’s Marilyn Monroe bio and it set off a chain of getting super involved with old Hollywood.”

Melanie Smith, VeVea’s mother, said she remembers April watching old movies with her grandfather when she was as young as 4 or 5 years old.

“The stuff she knows always amazes me,” Smith said. “I can’t believe how much she knows about these old actresses and actors as well, so she’s very knowledgeable. She knows things that people wouldn’t even think to ask about.”

Brittany Bennett, writing center coordinator and a senior history and English major from Mesquite, Nevada, said obscure information about golden era icons­­ — such as the specific day when Marilyn Monroe purchased a washing machine — is her friends life passion. She said her and VeVea first met in an American history class in which VeVea sat next to her. She remembers VeVea talking about the fall of society through chronicling the annual melt downs of Kanye West and Bennett knew she liked her.

They became friends in American culture and society where they bonded during study groups, Bennett said.

“I am always surprised,” Bennett said. “Whenever I reference something and I think it’s really backwards or obscure, she knows it immediately.”

VeVea said she finds much of her information from books and magazines, but the more inconspicuous information she finds through collectors who own items sold when studios purged much of their inventory in the ‘70s.

If you are wondering how the rare information VeVea discovers about old Hollywood is relevant to our day, the answer is in the accessibility of celebrities today. Through social media, celebrities can connect with their fans, Smith said.

“I think now we are invested in everything that celebrities do,” VeVea said. “We see what they eat, where they’re vacationing and who they are dating within seconds. In the golden age it was a lot more discreet. Certain things weren’t even published. Stars had an air of mystery and that’s really lacking anymore.”

VeVea’s work bridges the gap between what we know from pop culture and the actual history of the era, Bennett said.

In her blog post “Race Relations” about Ella Fitzgerald, VeVea clears up a misconception on which club Monroe had encouraged Fitzgerald to perform at. In the article, VeVea points out that a picture of Monroe and Fitzgerald posted in a newspaper failed to specify the name of the club the two appeared at.

“The problem starts with this picture,” Vevea said. Instead of specifying where Marilyn was that night, it simply says a ‘Hollywood Club’. People assume that it was the ‘Mocambo,’ but actually it was ‘The Tiffany Club’, another hot spot in Hollywood.”

VeVea includes a photo of an ad the Tiffany Club ran in the newspaper on Nov. 17, 1954. The advertisement shows Ella Fitzgerald as the headlining performer.

“I think my books put old Hollywood in perspective,” VeVea said. “This was the era that a lot of Dixie [State University] student’s grandparents and great-grandparents grew up in, and I think it helps put a lot of things in perspective, like changing societal and cultural norms and the evolution of the cult of celebrity.”

Students can connect with family members who grew up in the ’40s and ’50s through Vevea’s books and learn more about films’ “golden era.” VeVea said they can ask someone older than 65 what their favorite movies are or they can also simply pick an old film, watch it and decide if they like it or not. 

Vevea is currently writing a new book and more of her blogs about actors and actresses are available on her website.

Certificates give students edge in professional fields

Earning a certificate is one way for students to give themselves an advantage when applying for jobs.

“Having [a] certificate on your transcript or resume shows you have one more skill that your competition doesn’t, thus giving you an edge in the job market,” sociology professor Matthew Smith-Lahrman said. “[It] also looks good for students wanting to go to graduate school.”

For students majoring or minoring in the field associated with their certificate, all courses involved are either degree requirements or electives. For instance, 12 of the credits required for the certificate in social research methods are requirements for sociology majors, and the other six are elective credits. The same goes for other certificates.

“The maker certificate classes stack 100 percent [into the degrees in the engineering program],” said David Christensen, assistant professor of mechanical engineering. “In particular, this certificate bolsters the prototyping capabilities of entrepreneurs who are seeking to start a business or obtain a patent. Anyone interested in Innovation Plaza would benefit greatly from the maker certificate.”

Certificates can even be useful to students not majoring or minoring in the field directly associated with each certificate, Smith-Lahrman said.

“The ability to construct, implement, analyze and present social scientific data is useful in all disciplines and areas of employment because organizations need to know about their work forces and their customers,” Smith-Lahrman said of the certificate in social research methods. “So the skills imparted by this major are very useful to students in all majors and minors.”

Ian Holdeman, a junior computer and information technology major from St. George, said certifications and proving what you know are more important than a degree in the tech industry.

“The CompTIA A+ certification is the No. 1 certification that employers are looking for,” Holdeman said. “I’m pretty sure having my A+ at such a young age is part of the reason I was hired at my current job. I’m also working toward a Security+ certification, which I believe is the No. 2 certification employers look for.”

Certificates may be designed for their associated majors, but any student can use a certificate to his or her advantage. Smith-Lahrman and Christensen said they encourage non-majors to achieve certificates that might be beneficial to them. In the end, it’s the student’s decision whether or not a certificate is beneficial.

“This is a choice students must make for themselves,” Smith-Lahrman said.

For more information about the certificates DSU offers, students can visit https://catalog.dixie.edu/programs/certificates/.

Animal policy procedure on campus has been modified

Dixie State University modified its assistant animal accommodation procedure and guidelines pertaining to the animal policy two years ago after recognizing seemingly unreasonable rules set by the student housing staff.

DSU policy defines a service animal as any trained animal that does work for the benefit of an individual with a disability; an emotional support animal is an animal prescribed by a mental health physician to support an individual through the treatment process.

The current policy states that students in need of an assistant animal are required to submit the correct medical/clinical documentation to the Disability Resource Center. The documentation is needed to confirm the applicant’s disability.

Emotional support animals must be approved by the DRC and the housing and resident life department; service animals only need to be approved by the DRC.

Seth Gubler, the director of housing and resident life, said the original rule required the applicant to obtain their documentation through the DSU Health and Counseling Center. Now, applicants can attain a medical statement through their own health provider and the Health and Counseling Center is simply another option. 

The applicant must also schedule an appointment with Gubler to discuss the statement of understanding. They discuss the expectations of the animal’s care, which includes: the animal must be licensed with St. George, contained when outside, be house trained, the owner must ensure the animal will not be a disruption to other tenants and if the animal causes any damage the owner is held responsible.

A rule that used to be outlined in the expectations is when having an emotional support animal, the resident was responsible for a mattress replacement fee. 

“[By having the resident pay the fee] we are not out of cost [when replacing the mattresses], and the following residents who have allergies [are also protected],” Gubler said.

However, housing and urban development told housing staff they were not allowed to charge the resident with this fee. Now, the staff keeps track of what rooms have had animals and makes sure to keep residents with allergies out of those specific rooms.

The applicants also used to be required to renew the process each semester or school year because the animal is looked at as medication to the resident, and therefore the DRC wanted to ensure there was still a need for the animal, Gubler said. The resident now only has to go through the process once and they can decide with their health care provider when they no longer need the assistance.

Gubler said he and the student housing staff can easily monitor for unauthorized pets by having resident assistants, students who watch over the residents and their dorms, report any sign of an animal to the staff and the staff can handle it from there.

However, there have been several instances over the past few years of students bringing pets to their campus housing without approval, Dean of Students Del Beatty said.

“[Students would] claim they are emotional support animals, but they do not have the appropriate documentation and they did not follow the procedure to get their animal approved,” Beatty said.

As mentioned in a previous article, service and emotional support animals are not just normal pets — they are accepted on campus for a legitimate reason.

DRC Director Baako Wahabu said there is no need for pets to be on campus because it is an educational institution that needs to maintain good security and environment.

“If pets were allowed, it would be a fundamental disruption and if the pets are in the classroom, [but] not trained, it would cause inconvenience on campus,” Wahabu said.

DSU police department provides prescription drop-off box for the public

The Dixie State University Police Department offers a prescription drop-off box for students to dispose of unwanted prescriptions; the department hopes this access will reduce the amount of drug abuse on and off campus.

The nationwide box collection program was introduced to DSU a few years ago for people to safely dispose of old prescriptions instead of abusing drugs, said Blair Barfuss, chief of campus police.

Barfuss said elderly and certain populations, such as those with chronic pain issues or who have undergone multiple surgeries have excessive amounts of prescribed medications but do not know what to do with them after completing treatment. This program allows for prescriptions to stay out of the wrong hands and be disposed of properly. Barfuss said he sees two to three students dropping off prescriptions each week.

There has been an epidemic of prescription drug overdose deaths around the United States, and Utah is roughly the seventh in the nation for opioid drug overdose deaths, Barfuss said.

“This program does not solve the issue with narcotic abuse and overdose,” Barfuss said, “but it does have some success in limiting the amount of narcotics remaining in homes where they are not used or needed.”

The box collection program was added to police departments in St. George approximately six years ago, but the first establishment of the program is unknown, said Officer Tiffany Atkin from St. George police.

“I would hope that [the program] has a positive impact,” Atkin said. “It probably has lessened the amount [of drugs] out [on the streets].”

There have never been issues with people attempting to break into the box at DSU, Barfuss said; the campus police department has multiple safety procedures in place to prevent any unauthorized personnel from accessing the box. Along with being self-contained, meaning there is no way to reach into the box, the box can only be accessed from the back with a key, it is bolted to the floor, and there is 24-hour surveillance.

Once the box gets full, the evidence technician officer inventories all the product on standard inventory paperwork then it is sent to a waste facility in Layton. Barfuss said the officers either drive it themselves or document it and turn it over to St. George police to be added to their collections.

The St. George evidence detective disposes of it approximately two-three times per year, Evidence Technician Officer Craig Terry said.

The police departments are required to discard of the prescriptions in the Salt Lake City area because there are only a few landfills and burn centers willing to accept the discarded prescriptions and dispose of them lawfully, Barfuss said; the police are required to verify that the pills are destroyed and not simply thrown in landfills.

Barfuss said the campus police department is responsible for the cost of getting rid of the prescriptions. It was added to the police budget and costs a couple thousand dollars per year to drive and dispose of the prescriptions.

Barfuss said there are not typically statistics based on schools, usually only statewide, but in a recent report, it was shown that prescription drug overdose is not the most commonly abused substance on campus. In 2018, there were roughly 30 drug-related arrests and 40 alcohol-related arrests on campus.

Barfuss said, “I can’t say whether there is an issue or not [with] prescription drug overdose [at DSU], but [because] we don’t get high amounts of overdose calls for prescription drugs, [I would say] it is not excessive at DSU.”

Judd’s General Store has unique way of bringing customers back in time

Thomas Judd’s General Store is famous for its bread sticks and different soup specials, as well as its friendly environment which brings in loads of customers each day, including Dixie State University students. 

Adam Russell, a senior biology major from Thatcher, Arizona, said he likes to visit Judd’s because he enjoys the old fashioned candy that other places don’t sell.

“It’s a really homey feel,” Russell said. “[The employees] are super friendly and super nice.”

Judd’s was established in 1911, making it the longest running business in St. George. It started as a general store room where Thomas Judd and his family lived. It then opened as a candy/soda shop in the early ’80s. They sell bread sticks, cookies, candy, ice cream and soup.

It has been owned by four generations of Judds, and until Mark and Barbara Greene bought it, it was the oldest family-owned business in St. George.

Judd’s has been restored, but contains quite a bit of its originality, such as the scale, wood floor, sink and shoes that were sold before it became a candy shop. The store even keeps the original store blueprints.

“[What makes this place unique is] the nostalgia,” said, Heather Graff, a long time employee of Judd’s. “People like to come in here so they can travel back in time.”

However, Graff said Judd’s came close to being torn down.

According to the Washington County Historical Society, in 1982, “[St. George] city wanted to condemn the store and turn it into a parking lot.”

The Greenes purchased the building in 1983, preventing it from being demolished. The building then became protected by the historic district, a section of the city that contains older buildings considered historical landmarks. Any changes the owners want to make to the store have to get approved by the historic district.

The current staff at Judd’s are grateful that the store was saved. It adds to the history of the town and the routine customers would cause complete mayhem if it ever closed down, said Karen Lopez, an employee of Judd’s.

“[Judd’s] would be the missing puzzle piece [of the town] if it ever shut down,” Lopez said.

Graff said she would be confident to say nine out of 10 college students that are asked about Judd’s would know what it is and have a positive comment about the store.

“I like the vintage look to it and that it’s a piece of [St. George] history,” said Ady Edwards, a freshman general major from Riverton.

Graff said Judd’s was eventually purchased by the Sandstoms, who owned it until November 2015, when the Gulbransoms bought it.

“[Judd’s] has a very nice vibe [and] is a very welcoming place,” said Alexis Caldwell, an employee of Judd’s. “That’s why I like coming coming here and started working here.”

Judd’s is open Monday-Saturday from 9:30 a.m-5:30 p.m. and is closed Sunday. The store is located at 62 Tabernacle St. For more information visit the Facebook page.

Faculty senate open meetings decision postponed

Dixie State University’s faculty senate tabled a vote on the open or closed nature of its meetings as a legal dispute hangs overhead.

This has been a topic of discussion since a Dixie Sun News reporter was removed from an open faculty senate meeting on Sept. 20 by Michelle McDermott, senate president and associate professor of nursing. McDermott said because the reporter was not a full-time faculty member, they could not be in attendance.

“Per [DSU] policy and procedure, faculty senate meetings are only open to faculty senators and the faculty senate executive committee,” McDermott said.

However, Jeff Hunt, a first amendment lawyer, disagrees due to state law, specifically the Open and Public Meetings Act. He has since sided with the Dixie Sun News and is now representing them.

The law states:

“It is the intent of the Legislature that the state, its agencies, and its political subdivisions:

  1. take their actions openly; and
  2. conduct their deliberations openly.”

Hunt said because DSU is a public university and supported by public tax dollars it should abide by the Open Meetings Act.

Michelle McDermott, senate president and associate professor of nursing, said: “Faculty senate is not a public body. It is not. It is not applicable to the Open Meetings Act.”

Hunt has asked David Jones, Utah assistant attorney general, for his opinion on whether the act applies. A response is expected within a few weeks.

DSU General Counsel Doajo Hicks said: “[The attorney general’s office] is looking at other [Utah System of Higher Education] schools also to make it applicable because this is going to go statewide. It is not only DSU, this is applicable for all universities, other colleges.”

Faculty senate typically meets twice a month but has tabled the vote 15-1-2 until Jones’ opinion is available. Multiple faculty senate members said there was confusion and they would like more clarity before moving forward with the vote. This will have been the third time voting has been postponed, said Chelsea McCracken, assistant professor of interdisciplinary arts and sciences.

This dispute has since been reported on by news organizations such as the Salt Lake Tribune, as this policy is not the norm for Utah universities, and Jones’ decision could affect schools statewide, Hicks said.

“[DSU faculty senate] is the only outlier [in Utah state higher education] that has its meetings closed,” Hicks said. “You are going to always, constantly be under fire because of having closed meetings.”

Living, dealing with bad roommates

Going from living with people who you’ve known your entire life to living with five strangers from a variety of backgrounds can be interesting, to say the least.

I’ve had my fair share of not-so-fun experiences living with roommates, and most people can say the same. When six students with totally different personalities are crammed into a four bedroom apartment, it’s almost impossible not to get a little awkward from time-to-time.

During my first week in the dorms, myself and two others were ripped from our rooms and forced to move. Leading up to the first week of classes, all six of the girls in our dorm were texting, emailing and getting ready for what we thought was going to be a year full of the most fun sleepovers.

Almost a week into living with these girls, three of the roommates locked themselves in a room and refused to talk to anyone else in the apartment after they came out. Myself and the two other roommates had no idea what was happening until they called the resident assistant and resident manager in later that evening, refusing to sleep in the apartment because they “feared for their lives.”

A meeting was scheduled for all of the girls to sit down and get to the bottom of what was happening, but the meeting never came to fruition. Myself and the two roommates were forced to move immediately, requiring me to call out of work and miss class during my first week while the three other girls remained in the apartment.

A list of complaints was referenced in my meeting with two housing officials, and I requested the documents; after receiving the list, which was multiple pages long, I found that myself and others were kicked out of our apartment for trivial things like “eating cereal too loudly,” but also for claims of physical abuse, which held absolutely no merit.

I had spent the first week of my college career trapped in my room, waiting for the roommates who complained to leave the living room so I could get something to eat without bothering them and moving into a new apartment where women who were already associated and had heard terrible things about me. Housing staff had made me feel like a criminal, and I was told by a Dixie State University administrator that I did not have the right to due process as a student living in the dorms.

Luckily for me, my new roommates became some of my best friends, and one of them is going to be my maid-of-honor this fall. However, to this day, I know that this situation could have been avoided, and I wish I had been given that chance. There are a few steps you can take before going to any manager or resident assistant for help.


Talk it out

Small things can pile up quickly; leaving lights on, not taking out the trash or letting dirty dishes pile up are inconsiderate, but it is not the end of the world, unless you let it be. It is imperative that you are upfront and honest with your roommates. They cannot read your mind, and especially if they are people you have just met, there is going to be some dissonance as everyone is getting used to each other.

If something is bothering you, talk with the roommate who is doing it. Sometimes simply reminding someone that they are not living alone can solve a lot of the more commonplace disturbances that cause a lot of roommates to fall out with each other, like having the television turned up too loudly or not pitching in on community products.

That being said, it is also important to remember that you are not the only one going to class or working a job. It might just be a busy week, and if you remind your roommates to do the dishes, it might take them a second. It is not their job to drop everything to satisfy you, and it’s important you remember that as well.


Don’t gossip

Hearing what someone else has said about you can ruin a relationship immediately. It becomes that much more important to talk to people instead of about people when you are living with them.

If you are having trouble getting along with someone you live with, don’t complain about them to the other people who live in the house or apartment. It is much more efficient to go to the person with whom you are experiencing a conflict.

It might not only fix any problems you are experiencing more quickly, but gossiping is like a game of telephone with real-world consequences. Having your roommate hear what you think from your own mouth is more accurate and can often save everyone in the house or apartment from unneeded friction and having to choose sides.


If all else fails, get outside help

If you have spoken to a roommate multiple times about something that is taking away from your experience or makes you fear for your life or safety, go to your resident assistant. They are there to help and offer an outside look on whatever the situation might be, and often times they are able to offer solutions that might have never crossed your mind.

Unless absolutely necessary, go to the resident assistant yourself; don’t send a friend or a parent. Like gossiping, a lot of things can be blown out of proportion, and at the end of the day it’s not your parents who are going through conflict with your roommates.