FLI, international students push for Pomona summer storage options

Students lament the end of Pomona College offering on-campus summer storage. (Talia Bernstein • The Student Life)

As the spring semester winds down, 5C students are facing the annual question of where and how to store their personal belongings over the summer.

Pomona College students — who have typically had the option to store their belongings on campus over the summer — were told that, this year, on-campus spaces are “not suited for long-term storage,” according to a March 1 email from Dean of Campus Life Josh Eisenberg.

Students would be expected to organize storage on their own, Eisenberg stressed. Previously, students were able to store up to five boxes in Harwood Court or Walker Hall for $10 each. 

“Storage can be very expensive over the summer for three months. A lot of us don’t have that kind of money, nor the resources to transport storage and stuff like that,” Selena Lopez PO ’22, a leader of FLI Scholars at Pomona, said. “So I really wanted to come up with a solution.”

Mentor groups such as FLI Scholars, Posse Scholars and the International Student Mentorship Program have stepped in, reassuring their members that they would not be left without help to locate and pay for summer storage.

On April 4, FLI Scholars and ISMP sent surveys to their members inquiring about their summer storage needs, which over 200 students responded to, according to ASPC Vice President of Student Affairs Gerardo Rodriguez PO ’22. Hundreds of boxes were requested by the students who responded.

On Monday, Rodriguez and ASPC President Nirali Devgan PO ’22 confirmed that FLI and ISMP would be organizing on-campus storage for students who identify with those groups. 

ASPC also provided off-campus suggestions for other students concerned about storage, listing their distance from campus, size options and price ranges.

“I am not happy about Pomona’s handling of the storage situation because for starters, they could have let us know about this earlier. I did not know what to do at first,” said Giacomo Marazza PO ’25, who is part of both FLI Scholars and Posse Scholars. “But I am grateful for FLI for unanimously pretty much providing the FLI community here with storage units.”

Lopez expressed similar frustration.

“It seemed like the space to store our belongings was there, but they just weren’t using it,” Lopez said. 

According to Rodriguez, there will be at least three large outdoor storage pods available on Pomona’s South Campus, near Pendleton Dance Studio for FLI and international students. 

“It was a little frustrating that we had to go and ask for it and fight for it in order to get it. But, you know, at least we have it now and students are really, really thankful that they have a place to store their items for the summer,” Lopez said.

It was a little frustrating that we had to go and ask for [storage] and fight for it in order to get it.”

Selena Lopez '22

Eisenberg said that the previous storage locations, dorm basements, are not climate-controlled and that Pomona decided to end its summer storage in 2019 because of resulting problems.

Lopez and her friends had experienced these consequences firsthand when they found mold growing on boxes they stored in the basement of Harwood residence hall the summer after their first year. Some students also experienced rats eating through some of their boxes. 

Eisenberg said that due to the unforeseen circumstances of the pandemic, the college stored student items in Oldenborg, Rains Center and Walker until August 2021 but that “those are no longer viable locations now that campus is open.”

All five undergraduate colleges are grappling with summer storage issues and have informed students that they will not be offering on-campus storage for the majority of students. 

At Claremont McKenna College, students can still store bicycles on campus and current residents of the Alexander Kendry Apartments who will keep the same room next year are allowed to keep their items there. 

Harvey Mudd College’s student government “helps supplement pod storage over the summer for students,” according to spokesperson Judy Augsburger, but no specifics were provided. 

Pitzer College does not normally offer on-campus storage and only did so in 2020 due to the extraordinary circumstances of the pandemic, college spokesperson Wendy Shattuck said. According to Director of Campus Life Carmen Brown, Scripps College does not have an official policy and “encourages students to Google local storage companies.”

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