Problems at Pusan

The opening of NYU Shanghai's newest residence hall has not gone as smoothly as students may have hoped.

A delayed gym opening, facility issues, and a lack of communication has left students living at NYU Shanghai’s new Pusan Residence Hall frustrated and confused.

From the move-in date on Aug. 30, it was immediately apparent that NYUSH’s newest residence hall at Pusan Road was still in the process of being finished. Now, a month and a half later, the addition of a gym – an amenity offered to students when the housing option was initially listed – isn’t quite enough to alleviate the frustration among students, faculty, and Pusan’s in-house operating managers.

“It was starting to get to a point where it was kind of ridiculous,” said sophomore Ellie Halipern, a day before the gym’s intended Oct. 12 opening. It ended up opening a day later. “We’re paying more for the facilities, and [the gym] is one of the big reasons that so many kids wanted to be here.”

The gym was just one symptom of the larger problems within the dorm. Since arriving, students have had to file work-order requests for all kinds of different issues. From door handles detaching at the slightest tug to the majority of the toilets needing replacement, the entire building seems to have been thrown together at the last minute.

Pusan, it should be noted, was not the original site chosen for the new residence hall. NYUSH sent out an email last April regarding the new “Lang Studios Residence.” This was the location current Pusan residents originally applied for in their housing application. It is still not known what resulted in the sudden change of location.

Unlike at the dorms at Jinqiao, NYUSH is not in charge of the operations at Pusan; it is run entirely by Guan Yu Properties, the owners of the building. Any work requests or facility issues are handled by the Guan Yu Management staff.
With NYUSH unable to respond to work requests, students have to rely on Guan Yu’s onsite resources. The accumulation of issues, particularly the gym’s delayed opening, has resulted in a flurry of emails between students, Residential Life, and the Guan Yu Management.

“We’re frustrated, because of the fact they’re not delivering the level that we would like and would expect,” said David Pe, the Associate Dean of Students at NYUSH. “[The Pusan Management] has been frustrated that a lot of their decisions are bottlenecking – we’ve bypassed the local level and are now speaking directly to the central office.”

With many Pusan residents having selected the dorm because of the gym, some students feel that compensation is in order. Pe, who handles the day-to-day operations of student life, further clarified that while Student Life was concerned with the gym situation, the priority is always to ensure that students have a bed to sleep in and working facilities.

Fifi Fu, member of the Guan Yu Management team at Pusan, explained why individual responses to student emails were few and far between. “For the gym, we wanted to respond to all students at once instead of replying individually. We wanted it to be good news, instead of [a] continued apology.”

Moving forward, Residential Life promised in an email on Oct. 8 to “keep pushing Guan Yu voraciously to the benefit of students and exploring every avenue possible to improve the residential experience of students at Pusan.”

This article was written by Maxwell Murray. Please send an email to managing@oncenturyavenue.com to get in touch.
Photo Credit: Kate Pellegrino

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