Center for Adult and Veteran Students Q & A

Keisha Aikens working in the Center for Adult and Veteran Students (CAVS) at Kent State.

Keisha Aiken is a senior nursing major and a student employee who works for the Center for Adult and Veteran Students (CAVS) at Kent State University. Aiken said she used to live at the Allerton apartments through the Literacy and Independence for Family Education (L.I.F.E.) program with her son as a single mother. CAVS sometimes directs adult students to Allerton for housing.

Me: What are some of the benefits to living at Allerton for adult students?
Aiken: The benefits of Allerton is that it’s right on campus, and the bus comes literally every seven minutes. It’s very convenient because even if you’re not a traditional student, you feel like one because you’re surrounded by people on campus. It also has a nice computer lab, and if you have a child, it’s perfect because of the area. It’s its own community.

Me: Why do you think Residence Services is shutting Allerton down?
Aiken: I feel they’re shutting them down because they felt like they’re old and outdated. So, I guess the apartments are in poor conditions. I understand that they’re not the best, but they should be putting something back in place of them. Residence Services is taking something away from actual families. That was a reason I came here. I had a one-year-old son at the time, and I was like ‘wow, you can go to school while raising a child.’ The closing of the apartments will hinder a lot of families from going to college. Some of them have nowhere else to go.

Me: Do you think the closing of Allerton will hurt the adult student community at Kent State?
Aiken: Definitely. Some of these residents are only getting a year to leave, and that’s it. They have to find a whole new home, and a lot of these people came from other countries with families, and I don’t think the Residence Services is caring enough about that issue. It’s ridiculous. It’s not about finding other apartments; it’s a simple fact that Allerton is a community. It’s a place where if you don’t have transportation, it’s there for you. It’s a place where you build a community and relationships. You can go to neighbors for help. It seems as if they only care about money. I feel by them tearing these apartments down, they’re losing a lot at the University.

Me: Will CAVS help students find new homes and apartments later?
Aiken: I know we have made up a package full of information that lists different apartments areound the area in this office. People have come in here to find places for cheaper, so we made the package up. As far as I know, that’s all we do. Often, we recommend Allerton for one of our single-mom organizations called L.I.F.E. That’s one reason I went to live at Allerton.

Me: What did you like about living at Allerton, yourself?
Aiken: I loved it. It was very college-oriented, and I also got to live on my own. I got the experience of college life, while still having my own apartment with my son. It helped me to raise a child. Because of the L.I.F.E. program I was a part of, I could stay at Allerton. The single moms involved in L.I.F.E. all helped each other out. I always felt my child was safe. I enjoyed it. If they tear down all of Allerton, Kent State may also get rid of the single-parent program.

Me: What was it like being a single mom when you started going to Kent State?
Aiken: I felt like with Allerton, it was easy to get situated. It’s an easy transition. Moms can be around other parents and children, and all these parents at Allerton are on the same level. They all want to go to school, have children and be close to campus. Things would have been more difficult if I hadn’t lived at Allerton.

Me: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Aiken: I just feel really bad for some of the families being told to move out. We have some L.I.F.E. moms there now, and they’re scrambling trying to figure out where they’ll stay after May. They’re tearing all the apartments down three at a time, and trying to find another place is really tough. It seems they have no sympathy for some of these families. These people have children, and actual lives outside of themselves.

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