You are on page 1of 8

Proposal Rough Draft

Xavier Mosere-Storms

Dear Leonard Jones,

Do you remember being a college student before you were the director of the university residences? The
exhaustion, the stress, the daily struggle of time management, the vast amount of school wide events, and the social
atmosphere that encouraged you to make friends. Well, when you were in college the struggles you went through
seemed impossible to go over. College now a days has gotten even harder with the increase in incentive to do better.

So, lets take a moment to imagine this.

Youre a modern day college student, just like me. Its spring quarter of your freshmen year and youre
currently dorming in Buchanan Towers on the Southside of campus. Youre taking four classes to combat the three
you started with in Winter. So far, you have been doing okay in the classes, some passes and some close to fails.
Heres the catch. Its finals week. Youve been up for continuous hours studying for four different finals that require
four different areas of your work-life to somehow come together. One teacher is making the final a project. The
other three are final exams on everything in the class. You are obviously stressed. Every day is spent in the lovely
library, but youre kind of getting sick of it. Your exhaustion levels are higher than the peak of a mountain. So, you
decide to take a well-deserved and needed rest day; a day all to yourself where you can just lay in bed and relax. You
crawl into the softest pajamas you have, grab some snacks to comfort yourself, and make your way towards the bed.
The stress slips off your shoulders, and you hop into the bed and are welcomed to stiffness. You roll over onto
your side on this mattress, and try your hardest to get comfortable, but every action you take just makes it
worse. This isnt the first time this has happened either. Sleeping on the college mattress every night is a struggle,
and it is a battle between your exhaustion and comfortability.

Exhaustion

As we look into the problems that this seemingly simple mattress situation causes, we must understand the
underlying cause of a majority of these issues. When I interviewed multiple Buchanan Tower residences, to try and
find out if the opinion of its comfortability was only mine, I got the results below.

As it shows, five out of six students find these beds to be uncomfortable, while only one of the students
interviewed found the beds comfortable. An uncomfortable mattress may not seem that hindering, but a study
conducted by the Sleep Foundation found that 61% of people said that a comfortable mattress was important for
their sleep. In the chart below you will see that a majority of people found the comfortability of a mattress was
important to their sleep, rating it at a 5 in terms of standing.

So, a cozy mattress does impact the quality and amount of sleep that college students receive. A study
conducted by Sleepbetter.org found the average amount of sleep college students are getting, and compared it to
what they determined a good amount of sleep (9+ hours for students). As you can see below, the study found that a
big chunk of students reported getting the average amount of sleep needed,

The Prevalence of Sleep Disorders in College Students: Impact on Academic Performance, an article by
Jane F. Gaultney did a study on college students surrounding the idea of academics and came up with interesting
results, the students in this sample, who reported a mean of 6.79 hours of sleep during their school/work week, lost
6.05 hours of sleep over 5 days. Even though they compensated by getting extra sleep on the weekends, this extra
sleep (2.6 hours over a 2-day period) was not enough to compensate for the lost sleep during the week, resulting in a
mounting sleep debt. The research conducted shows that the majority of college students are consistently losing
hours of sleep, and allowing sleep debt to haunt their brain. This is a problem.

The major problem here is not necessarily the uncomfortable mattress, but the fact that said mattress
reflects the University and its unwillingness to spend enough money on the mattress, which in turn allows a
multitude of effects to spring up.

EFFECTS
Poor Grades

Why does exhaustion matter, you ask? Well, for college students, exhaustion plays a large role in their life.
For college students at Buchanan Towers, like myself, exhaustion affects every aspect of their life from learning to
basic functions. These effects are not positive.

One major problem exhaustion brings about is the large part it plays in memory consolidation. According to
The Prevalence of Sleep Disorders in College Students memory consolidation is even more important in the current
education system because you must memorize large masses of information and recall it come test-time. As a
students sleep troubles increase, the student may spend a majority of their time cramming to keep their grades
above water. Sleep Habits and Patterns of College Students: A Preliminary Study, found that a majority of college
students who were struggling with sleep didnt even know that they were struggling because of the amount of hours
that they were sleeping. Students genuinely believed that their late night cramming was keeping them in a better
academic standing than their peers who got better sleep. Exhaustion is the cause, but most dont even know its a
problem.

An uncomfortable bed leads to increased exhaustion and decreased sleep. This is hindering the abilities of
individual students. As exhaustion increases, the effects on students get worse, not better. Not only will their
memory suffer, but as a result their overall GPAs will see a negative impact. One article known as The Prevalence of
Sleep Disorders in College Students, states that Being an evening person, sleeping badly, getting less sleep, and
having inconsistent bedtimes predict a lowered GPA. GPA is important to a college because it impacts the statistics,
and can later determine if a student ends up graduating.

Graduation

Graduating is something every student strives for. Its the day where miracles are fulfilled and students
gather a sense of freedom. Heres the catch though. To get to graduation a student needs to have passing grades. As
stated in the last section, the uncomfortable mattress provided by the University leads to poor sleep, which in turn
affects the overall GPA of the college students. Heres the problem. When a college students GPA suffers, this
means there is a possibility that a student is failing some of their classes. Failing a class isnt ideal, but its
manageable if only one class is failed. The problem with a bad mattress is that you are constantly sleeping on it, and
therefore you are constantly messing with your quality of sleep. As your quality of sleep continues to decreases, the
likelihood of you doing worse in your class increases. What starts out as failing one class, can grow into a multitude
of fails in other class. As the fails continue to add up, suddenly students are finding themselves trapped into
dropping out. All because of the small bed situation, they are suddenly finding themselves failing classes and not
being able to attend the graduation that they eagerly looked forward to not long ago.

Homesickness

Moving on from the intellectual part of the bed situation, lets bring this closer to home literally. So lets
keep the idea that youre a college student in the forefront of your mind. An article called Lets Talk About
Homesickness gives us an idea of what homesickness really is, by telling us that homesickness is not so much that
the student misses their bed, but the fact that the student longs for what was comfortable, familiar, and normal. A
hard bed is none of these things. So, as students come to Western, many are leaving a home they were comfortable
in, to live in the dorms for a long period of time. If the bed is uncomfortable, as it has been rated by the Buchanan
Tower residences, then this is only going to make them associate Western with the word home much less.

A homesick student no longer wants to be at the college. When a student doesnt want to be at the college,
they begin to associate the college with a negative attitude. Suddenly the classes they enjoyed are becoming a
struggle. The room that once felt like home, now feels like a reminder that this isnt their home. The biggest part is

the fact that the frustratingly uncomfortable mattress reminds students every day that their mattress at home is
twenty times better. When homesickness becomes increasingly worse, students will feel the need to go home
because theyll think that the college isnt fitting for them.

What Do All of These Effects Have in Common?


So, to sum it all up lets look at a quick list of everything talked about above.

Uncomfortable beds lead to


o

Poor sleep leads to

Poor grades lead to

Failing classes leads to


o

Dropping out leads to.

Homesickness leads to

Wanting to go home leads to

Feeling disconnected from the school leads to


o

Leaving college to be with people you care about leads to

Now if you look closely youll notice that in the end, these all lead to a similar thingthe college losing
money. They all lead to the college losing money. How is that? Well, you probably know the answer already, but as
students end up dropping out, the college loses the tuition money. Not only that, but the college loses the additional
fees, event money, and book money that the student pays over the year. As you know, the average tuition for the
school year, given by www.wwu.edu/about/costs is $23,236. Imagine losing that amount of money from multiple
students. That is a lot of money the school could be using. All of that money would be going towards a variety of
things that could improve the school and residence halls.

SOLUTION
So, why am I setting the stage on this issue? Well, the reason is because I am a student living in Buchanan
Towers with beds that are lacking comfort as are all of my dorm-mates. In a very exaggerated expression, these beds
could be compared to beds given to prisoners.

To combat the jail like comfortability of the beds, I investigated information about the bed provided
through the attached mattress tag. WWU doesnt easily release that information publically. I researched what
mattress they bought based on the attached mattress tag. After a little googling, I found the mattress on
Washingtononci.com and was able to find the exact model. The university purchased mattresses from the
Washington State Correctional Industries, and are called Dual Foam Mattresses. According to the website
washingtononci.com, the mattress costs between $174 to $185 depending on the bed measurements.

So, how do you battle a mattress like this? Sadly, you cant. So, you find and fund a different type of
mattress. This might sound like a costly solution when you first look at it, but the fact that students are unable to
graduate, struggle mentally, and are costing the college money should clearly be incentive for the college to spend
more money on mattresses. The good news is that it doesnt have to be that costly.
As I researched mattresses and tried to find something better than a Dual Foam mattress, I came across
multiple varieties of mattresses from Sears costed similar prices to the amount that the university is already
spending. The one mattress that stood out to me was the Night Therapy 8 Inch Memory Foam Mattress Only Twin
XL that price runs at $175.34, the same price as the mattress that the university is already spending money on.
As a student, I do not know if there are negotiations or discounts that this certain facility gives, so I cannot provide
any arguments against that.

Counter Arguments

One idea that I can argue is the idea that buying a new mattress is going to cost the students. When
interviewing the Buchanan Tower residents about the comfortability of the bed, I asked them a second question, do
you own mattress supporters?. All of them answered yes, while at the same time calling the bed uncomfortable.
Using the same site as the new mattress, sears.com, the cheapest cost of a mattress pad is 19.99. Seeing that the
students are already putting 20$+ more for something to support the mattress, I believe I can strongly say that the
students could put that money towards the support of a better mattress. Not only that, but the mattress that I found on
sears is the same price as the mattress, meaning that the students wouldnt have to put anything into this. Therefore,
the idea that the college would be spending any more money is illogical in this scenario.

Although, if money seems to be the largest concern of this solution, there is one way to earn that money.
Student and Staff held fundraisers. If students are unwilling to pay a small payment to get a better mattress, and staff
are as well, the school can hold a fundraiser for students and staff alike to make donations to fund for the newer
mattresses. This means the extra cost that everyone is so worried about will be paid by students, adults, or staff
who had the choice to donate.

The Plea

Imagine one less stressor, and how much it would mean to each student that you were able to increase their
general enjoyment of the college. Not only will it help the students, but the overall positive reaction to the college
will increase as the students stop feeling like they are struggling with grades, homesickness, and an environment that
doesnt support their learning. I believe WWU is a beautiful school with amazing residences, but I know that the bed
is negatively impacting a majority of students.

With the information I discovered myself and the information gathered by other students/sources, I can
strongly say that the increase in money the university spends on residence mattresses will have more positive
aspects than negative. In the long run, this investment will improve the GPA of students, keep students in college for
longer periods of times, and make for a better all-around college experience. As the University Residence Director, I
feel that you understand the importance of this issue, and see along with me the fact that many students are
struggling because of a small thing that can be easily changed by the University. You have to power to be the person
to snatch up this idea, and help support it.

Sincerely,
Xavier Mosere-Storms

References Used Throughout Proposal

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/07448481.2010.483708

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/07448480109596017

http://media.biobiochile.cl/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/215-4929907074434892796The_Relationship_Between_Sleep_Lenght_and_Grade_Point_Average.pdf

https://sleepfoundation.org/sites/default/files/bedroompoll/NSF_Bedroom_Poll_Report.pdf

http://www.sears.com/night-therapy-8-inch-memory-foam-mattress-twinxl/p-00804211000P?
prdNo=2&blockNo=2&blockType=G2

http://sleepbetter.org/college-students-get-not-so-fresh-infographic/

http://digitalcommons.wku.edu/cns_apps/30/

http://www.washingtonci.com/products-services/textiles/mattresses/featured-products/dual-foam-mattress.html