Last warning for residents of Hoogeveldt: SSH& will throw out any stuff lying around in the hallways
Soon, things lying around in the hallways of student housing complex Hoogeveldt will be thrown out with no further warning. ‘It is about time that students take fire safety seriously.’
Garbage bags, waste paper, and discarded furniture, as well as full drying racks, sports shoes, and flip-flops. Students in SSH&-complex Hoogeveldt are well advised to not leave any stuff lying around in the hallways or the staircase anymore, as the student housing corporation will start to remove anything that blocks these areas.
This is what SSH& wrote in their e-mail to all residents of the Hoogeveldt complex. The cleaning crew will remove any stuff that they encounter in the hallways and will take this to the landfill immediately, the e-mail states. The costs will be for the students themselves. In addition, the common storage cabinets in the hallways will be – temporarily – closed.
‘These measures completely defeat their purpose’
Managing director of SSH& Kees Stunnenberg agrees that these are drastic measures. ‘But it is important that we take action now’, he says resolutely. ‘It is about time that students take fire safety seriously. Our aim is not to bully the students; we care about the safety of our residents.’
Storage cabinets are overflowing
As stuff lies around the hallways – and the storage cabinets are overflowing – dangerous situations might emerge in case of fire, Stunnenberg explains. ‘The fire department has notified us that the escape routes are not vacant. I can’t bear the thought of what happens when there is a fire and the hallways are filled with smoke, and someone who tries to escape trips over a table or flip-flops that were left in the hallways.’
Stunnenberg stresses that the students have been warned about this many times, but no improvements have been made. ‘Things improve for a while after inspections, but after a few days, the hallways are full again. We are fighting a running battle. Apparently, more serious measures are necessary.’
Although the measures are not enforced in Hoogeveldt yet, they have already sparked dissatisfaction amongst the residents of the complex. ‘The rooms have a surface area of 13 square meters. There is barely enough space to store your laundry, garbage or furniture’, student and resident Bas* notes. ‘I understand that this is about fire safety and I am glad that SSH& takes that seriously. But these measures completely defeat their purpose.’
‘We want to raise awareness on fire safety’
‘Closing the common storage cabinets in the hallways seems like an odd measure to me’, the student says. ‘That was a place where we could store our extra stuff. If they close these cabinets, we have even less space to put our things. This makes it even more attractive to put our stuff in the hallways.’
SSH&-director Stunnenberg is clear about the common storage cabinets: ‘It is a temporary measure. Students leave things they don’t need anymore in these cabinets when they move from the building. They are not intended for that. The cabinets will be cleaned up together with the students, and if the hallways remain clean and empty, the cabinets will be open for use again as soon as possible.’
The e-mail also clarifies that even “new Nikes” will be thrown out by the cleaners if they see them in the hallways. Should students be worried if they let their sports shoes air out in front of their door? Yes, says Stunnenburg. ‘With this example in our e-mail, we hope to get the message across that this time we are serious about the measures.’
In response to the e-mail, several students have already reached out to the student housing corporation. This is a good thing, according to Stunnenberg. ‘We want to raise awareness on fire safety. Students starting a conversation with us about this topic might be a good step towards a safer living environment.’
* Full name is known to the editorial staff.