I'm writing this post for two reasons. The first reason is that there isn't any review on College Village (or at least, nothing that Google has spidered). The second reason is I believe a lot of the things that the College Village administration advertises to be false. Prospective students are unaware of what it is really like living on College Village.
What is about to follow is my own opinions and thoughts. While I know everything I'll be saying (currently) is truth and fact, I'm covering my ass by saying the above in the event someone from College Village or the Genesee Community College Foundation sees this and isn't happy.
I'm going to start off by ripping into the College Village main page at http://www.genesee.edu/index.cfm/general/dspArticle/campuslife.housing/default.cfm at the time of this writing. I'll be taking individual paragraphs and sentences from it and, if it's a complete load of crap, I'll explain why.
"College residence life living is fun! You get to be independent, make new friends, and get involved in all the things that make up a real college experience."
That, is a load of crap. Living at College Village is anything but fun and independent. I had more freedom and less breathing down my neck living with my parents while I was in high school. College Village Safety is extremely nosey and overbearing. There aren't a lot of things that you can do on College Village that "make up a real college experience" either. By the way, if you think you'll be able to throw parties, guess again.
"College Village is apartment living, where you can stretch out on the couch and watch a movie in your living room, or cook a favorite meal for your friends in your own kitchen."
Again, I'm calling crap. While you can stretch out on the couch and watching a movie in the living room with ease, cooking a favorite meal for your friends in your own kitchen isn't as simple as it sounds. If you have friends that aren't College Village residents, it is a royal pain in the ass to sign them in as guests. If you have a significant other that isn't a resident, you'll have to jump through hoops if you want them over. It's even worse if you want them to spend the night.
"But, it's different from just going someplace to live in an apartment. That's why we have a caring, professional Residence Life team, Security staff, and Resident Assistants who are there to help you adjust to your new life as a college student."
Hah. Caring and professional. That's real cute and a bold-faced lie.
The current Residence Life team is made up of four people, two of which have any real importance. John Sisson, the Director of Residence Life and Ellen Brokaw, the Assistant Director of Residence Life. From personal experience, John Sisson is a complete ass and anything but professional. I'm not saying this to make him look bad, which he does quite well on his own. I'm saying it because it's the truth. He cannot deal with students on any level, even the RAs. He has horrible communication skills and lies consistently, especially on promises made to students (something that past RAs confided to me straight to my face). Trying to talk with him is comparable to having a conversation with a brick wall. The only person worse than him is his boss, Rick Ensman. At the time of this writing, community colleges in New York cannot own student housing. Community colleges get around this by having the land and buildings owned by a separate business entity affiliated with the college itself, which Rick Ensman is on the board of for this particular housing. He knows full well what goes on and I've had staff at the college vent their frustrations to me about this, in confidence of course.
Ellen Brokaw is a completely different story. She's professional. She's nice and understanding. She has excellent communication skills and tries to help students as much as she can. Personally, I hate having to bring a problem to her because I know better than most just how busy and stressful her job is. I don't want to add to it.
As far as the RAs go, they're just second-year (or more) students that apply to be an RA. They go through some training to handle different situations and are generally alright people. For the last three years, all but one or two of the RAs are pretty good people. They want and try to help students as much as they can. For all intents and purposes, they're not much different than other residents. They just get free housing, have to behave, and are always exhausted between keeping up with their classes and handling all their RA responsibilities.
Now, Village Safety really isn't anything special. As long as you have NYS Saftey Officer certification, you can apply. Sadly, the previous Head of Safety, Phil Marks, retired and is no longer there. For what it's worth, Phil Marks was an amazing man that there aren't words that detail just how amazing and how much of a good person he is. Him and Ellen were the people to talk to if you had a problem.
"You and your friends can take advantage of trips, pizza parties, concerts, dances, and so much more, both at College Village and the campus that is just a short walking distance up the hill."
With the exception of trips, everything else mentioned in that sentence is referring to events that Student Activities sponsors and sets up. This is the only sentence that I can agree with.
At this point, I'm going to delve in to several problems and issues that prospective students aren't going to know about until they live on College Village for a month or two, the first being cost.
I don't know the exact number off the top of my head, but I know it's at least $2,500 a semester to live on College Village. That's for a double, where you have two people in one bedroom. Singles, where you have a bedroom to yourself is over $3,000. That includes everything, however, if you happen to use too much electricity or too much gas from keeping the heater on in the winter, you'll be charged more money. Even if your roommates do and you don't, you'll still be charged with them. It's probably worth mentioning that I know several students that have filed lawsuits against College Village for various reasons, most over not getting their security deposit back. I don't know the outcome of all of these lawsuits, but they should be public record. Anyone should be able to look up the records at the Genesee County courthouse.
The next is the breaks and vacations. Unless you're an international student or you pay extra money, you're kicked out over the breaks and vacations. This is a real problem at the end of the year during finals week. They expect you to be packed up and out after the semester ends, but there's the following week after the semester ends for finals. There is a paper you can fill out to request extra time if you have finals, but I wouldn't rely on it. I knew/know several students that filled out that request and it wasn't approved. They had to pay and stay at a hotel for the week until they got all their finals out of the way.
Following the breaks and vacations is the noise. Fortunately, I'm one of those people that can sleep through an air raid siren. If you aren't one of those people, you're in trouble. If you don't have loud roommates, you're going to have people outside or upstairs making outrageous amounts of noise. Calling Safety to deal with it is pointless. If they actually look into it, whoever is making the noise will start right back up. My best advice is to call the cops and make a noise complaint after trying to get Safety to deal with it first.
Last, but not least, is the internet. I can say with 100% certainty, the wireless internet provided on College Village has been absolutely unreliable for the last two years. It was one of the things complained about the most. However, I'm aware that a new contract with a different provider was signed this year. I have yet to hear anything bad about the internet this year, so here's hoping that one problem has been fixed.
When I first wrote this, I was intimidated into taking it down because it called out people by name and caused more harm than good. However, I simply changed the visibility settings on the post. I never took it down. I now live about 45 minutes away from this college and have considerably less drama in my life since moving. Since I live in another city, maintain the "server" this blog runs off of by myself, have a little bit more of a backbone, and have had people threaten me with legal action challenging my First Amendment rights more than once now, it's going back up. Any potential residents have every reason to read what I've written here, even if it's several years old, which is the whole reason I wrote this in the first place. It's entirely possible that College Village is a lot better now than it was when this post was written.
Ultimately, take all of what is written here with a grain of salt. If either John Sisson or Rick Ensman are still affiliated at all with College Village, I doubt it's any better. I split rent and utilities for off-campus housing with a roommate and the monthly bill was maybe $400 at most per person. Rent per month was in the $500 range. Little over $3,000 for the year with utilities added in, but it's totally worth the freedom or lack of overbearing rent-a-cops.
Lastly, as a reminder to a few select people that encouraged me to take this down when I first put it up, in case they ever come across this. You told me that this post did more harm than good. I took it down with the understanding that it would be helping you and others resolve the problems I highlighted here. I made it very clear that I'm frequently a direct person and this would go back up if things didn't change. They didn't change, so I'm putting this back up.