No more phones in your dormitory

The Washington Post has an article on universities debating whether to ‘pull the plug’ on landlines (i.e., traditional phones) in their dormitories. Apparently so many students have cell phones that they rarely use the landlines. Historically, universities have used surcharges on the phone calls to finance the landlines (and more, because the article says that the phone service used to be a “cash cow”). Now they’re sinking lots of money into a service that the students seldom use.

To cover students, such as international students, who do not own cellphones the universities are thinking of loaning them cellphones. But wait. It doesn’t stop there.

[Washington, DC’s] American University already feels unplugged. The campus is wireless, so students can type e-mails and study on laptops from couches, the steps of the library and benches outside. Snatches of one-sided conversations drift by as students walk to class talking on their cells. Next fall, the university will provide business school students the latest BlackBerry devices.

Another interesting tidbit from the article is how youth have socially reconstructed the purpose of the phone call. Explains one such student:

“It used to be you’d call someone because you had a reason to call,” said Ian Johnson, 28, a graduate student at American. “Now you call because you’re bored waiting for the bus to come. . . . It’s almost a noise pollution.”

So here we have the connection to the environment. Cellphones are the new noise pollution.

For other environmental reasons, this may not be a good university policy. See Expert spells it out: health fears mean young should not use mobile phones.

4 Responses to “No more phones in your dormitory”

  1. Liam says:

    In my first year here, I developed a mild hatred of cell phones, when the girl who lived across from me in residence had her cell phone ringer on loud, and would often leave it locked in her room. Her friends, who apparently REALLY needed to talk to her quite often, would often phone her landline, then her cellphone, then her landline, and so on, apparently not getting the hint that she was in fact not home. Blah!

    Beyond that though, I’ve never really liked cell phones. People using them talk too loud, walk into things, and seem unconcerned that everyone within 15 yards can hear every word of their incredibly interesting conversation.

    “Hello? Oh, hi, what’s up? … Yeah … I’m on the bus right now… Where are you? … What? … Sorry, I can’t hear you very well. Ok, I’m getting off the bus.”

    Let’s not even mention them ringing in class, movies, plays, libraries, or people who drive while on the phone. I do understand there are some instances when, yes, cell phones are good, however, generally I find them to be fairly evil. Luckily, my house’s lone phone (there are three of us) often fails to work or ring, causing people to get our marvelous Banana Phone (by Raffi!) answering machine message.

  2. pete says:

    I got rid of my land line years ago, and rely solely on my cell. The best thing about it is that I can turn off the ringer! No voice mail, either. If ya cant reach me, too bad! I dont even have internet at home. I think I may be rebelling against being so connected at work.

  3. Ira says:

    I got rid of my land line years ago too – and then my mobile stopped working inside my apartment and I had to get one again! So frustrating! One interesting thing about mobile phones is that the numbers aren’t listed anywhere. As mobiles increase and land lines decrease, will it get harder and harder to find people? Or some day soon will the mobile companies all get together and make a directory?

  4. sieber says:

    One of the problems in the rise in cell phone use and the reduction in phone lines is the problems that it causes for telephone surveyors. Before you laugh off the plight of telephone surveyors, many of whom are really telephone marketers, think about all the polls that will increasingly underrepresent the 18-25 year old demographic (I can see the results now. “Rate the most important modern innovations: iPods 2%; Depends undergarments 88%”).

    I don’t know whether it’s a response to difficulties in surveying or whether it’s because people can no longer find each other. However, mobile phone companies in the US at least are talking about putting together a phone directory.