I think it’s a little amusing that right after I wrote a post about Winston and Blanco, the two fish that have become pets at the Front Desk of the residence hall I work at, The Tower Hall, about how much I appreciate having them and how it brightens up my work shift and brings smiles to the residents’ faces, they’re taken away.

Unfortunately, Housing and Residential Life at Texas State University likes to set strict rules and guidelines in order to maintain standards and uphold quality. These can be hard to work with a lot of the time and are never negotiable. It can make my job more difficult and frustrating, especially when these standards are changed or set with little warning.

This month has been full of changes, and I am bound to write another post on the others, but this one will focus on Blanco and Winston.

One of the area directors who helps run and maintain ResLife came through Tower Hall recently and noticed the fish behind our Front Desk. Now I don’t know the whole story because I wasn’t there, but I’m assuming that he wasn’t happy with what he saw as shortly afterwards, he sent an email to Tammy, the director of Tower Hall listing strict changes that need to be made in order to keep the fish at our desk. At our weekly Monday RA meeting this week, Tammy presented these guidelines to us:

  • The fish must be kept in a 5 gallon minimum tank, but no more than 10 gallons.
  • The water must be clean at all times.
  • The water must be aerated.
  • A feeding and cleaning schedule must be posted behind the Front Desk that lists who will feed the fish and clean the fish tank and when it will be done.

Now, I might have mentioned in my previous post that Blanco and Winston are two very small goldfish. They are literally smaller than my pinky finger, each. Although we have made some changes to their home, we have kept them in the container that Bexar Hall gave them to us in, a small, somewhere around 1 gallonish jar with a lid with several holes cut into it. Now, we always keep the lid off to give the fish even more air, but in that jar, they’ve got plenty of room and seem to be living just fine. We were given them in early January and they are still alive and thriving now, close to March.

Their home has been updated to include hot pink rocks along the base and a bright, neon pink plastic tree within the center of the jar giving the fish privacy and a little interest. We have a strict feeding schedule that is not visibly posted, but was discussed in great detail at one of our Monday meetings and was agreed upon by all of us: whoever opens the Front Desk feeds the fish 5 pellets at 10:00am. No one else is to feed the fish that day. This works well because the Front Desk is opened every day at 10:00am, not matter what, and it guarantees that the fish will be fed, yet not overfed. There is a note on their food container that says something along the lines of “When feeding, only feed 5 pellets so that the tank does not become dirty and the fish are not overfed,” but I don’t think that would qualify as a posted feeding schedule.

As for cleaning the tank, I mentioned that RA Syd has been the only person taking on that responsibility so far. He’s been cleaning the jar about every other week or so, once the water starts getting cleaner. I agree that we could do with better cleaning arrangements, but the consensus among the RAs was not to have a strict cleaning schedule and just to make sure that it got cleaned every once in a while.

After discussing the guidelines that we must follow in order to keep Blanco and Winston behind the desk, Tammy gave us some options:

  • Follow the guidelines and keep the fish.
  • Give the fish to one of the RAs to keep in their room as a personal pet.
  • Give the fish to a resident to keep in their room as a personal pet.
  • Return the fish to Bexar Hall.
  • Flush the fish.

Unfortunately, Tammy also said that ResLife would must likely not provide the funds needed to buy a larger tank and an aeration or filtration system in order to keep Blanco and Winston behind the desk, even though we acquired the fish through ResLife during Winter Resident Assistant Training. We had already used personal funds to buy the fish food, tank cleaning solution, and new tank decorations, and we didn’t want to use more personal funds to follow the new guidelines.

After an extremely long discussion about poor Winston and Blanco and how we love having them around, but don’t want to add to our job expectations, making having them more frustrating and stressful than it should be, we came to a decision. RA Maddie agreed to take the fish to her room and keep them as a personal pet. Thankfully, I was very grateful that she offered because some people were tossing the idea of flushing them about and I’ve heard that fish don’t usually survive that.

I haven’t made a trip to the Front Desk today, so I don’t know if Blanco and Winston have relocated to their new home yet, but I hope that they will be happy with Maddie. She was actually extremely excited to take them on and mentioned calling her mother to tell her all about her new pets. I will miss the fish that made my desk shifts more bearable, but am thankful for the time I had with them.

Although ResLife can be hard to deal with at times, I still love my job as a Tower Hall resident assistant, though. I am very thankful to hold this position.

More on Blanco and Winston: Tower Fish – Blanco and Winston

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