Give off-campus housing a chance

Editorials featured in the Forum section are solely the opinions of their individual authors.

Last week, The Tartan printed Catherine Spence’s “Consider campus living,” in which she argues that on-campus housing is more beneficial than off-campus housing for students. There are pros and cons to living on and off campus. However, I do not agree with some of Spence’s arguments, including her main one: I think off-campus housing is better than on-campus housing.

Spence states that bathroom necessities are always at one’s disposal on campus. However, toilet paper, paper towels, and soap are not refilled every day in the communal bathrooms of on-campus housing. On the other hand, students who live off campus can personally ensure that they do not run into this problem by storing extra bathroom necessities.

While it is true that the university’s Facilities Management Services will not be there to fix a broken window, door, or chair off campus, every housing unit has a landlord to call if anything is wrong. If you do your research correctly (through online reviews and people’s word of mouth), you could even find a landlord who responds to maintenance requests faster than the university. Thus, even if Facilities Management Services does not come off campus to repair damaged items, a specialist provided by the landlord will.

In her article, Spence acknowledges the most common argument for living off campus: Since there is no option to live on campus in real life, people should move off campus and get used to it now. She argues that people should not do this until they must. However, living off campus really does provide invaluable preparation for the real world. It teaches students life responsibilities while they still have the financial and psychological safety net provided by parents and the university.

Students living off campus will not be less informed about campus activities compared to students living on campus. Most students living off campus are at school for the majority of their days attending classes, visiting Club Hunt, or participating in extracurricular activities. Somewhere, somehow, those students will hear the same news that students living on campus hear.

Besides, off-campus housing usually offers more space to students. They do not have to be cooped up in small dormitory rooms throughout their entire college experience. While on-campus dorm sizes range from Hamerschlag House’s standard doubles to Mudge House’s prime quads, off-campus housing definitely gives students more room to spread out their belongings and relax.

Even though on-campus housing is more convenient for students in terms of proximity and promotes a certain sense of community, the pros of off-campus housing evidently outweigh the pros of on-campus housing. There is no reason for students to pay more living on campus when they could have a better college experience living off campus while learning to be more responsible.