Consider campus living

Credit: Annette Ko/Art Editor Credit: Annette Ko/Art Editor
Editorials featured in the Forum section are solely the opinions of their individual authors.

Time to ask yourself the age-old annual college question: Where are you living next semester? As Housing and Dining Services begins its housing fairs and prepares to introduce its StarRez application for handling room assignments, Carnegie Mellon students have big decisions to make regarding where they will be sleeping next fall. With options ranging from West Wing to Webster Hall, it’s time to start evaluating where to live and why.

Living on campus has its benefits, especially for students without cars and those very involved in extracurricular activities. Remaining on campus also means that basic necessities like toilet paper and paper towels are always at one’s disposal. Besides these perks, staying on campus also takes a lot of the work out of being a resident.

Imagine if you move off campus and your window breaks; Facilities Management Services isn’t going to come make sure your bedroom window closes for you. Perhaps you and your roommate have disagreements over your heater’s temperature during the winter months and about how to split the utilities bill. Maybe your roommate decides to take a leave of absence, leaving you with a greater fraction of the rent. Unexpected problems like these often trouble those living on campus, but at least they are left with no financial obligation.

One of the most common arguments for moving off campus goes something like this: “In real life, you don’t have the option to live on campus, so you might as well get used to it starting now.” While I agree with the sentiment and concur that real life is nothing like on-campus housing, what’s the rush in moving off campus? If you are going to have to eventually live “off campus,” why do it before you must?

I don’t see any harm in living on campus for a few more years. Furthermore, you’ll probably never again have the opportunity to live in a hallway where you know many of the residents and can casually walk into their bedrooms without being considered inappropriate or downright creepy.

Living on campus also allows students to stay engaged in campus activities. Whether it’s grabbing free food from a resident assistant, chatting with floormates, or stumbling upon a cool event on a corner of campus, chance encounters are far less likely to occur for students who don’t live on campus. How often has someone offered you a free meal as you walked down Beeler Street?

While I do see the practical benefits of cheaper rent, more space, and the absence of a campus authority, I don’t think they are compelling enough to justify living off campus. It’s easy to miss a payment on a bill or to get fed up with choosing between walking home from Club Hunt late at night or waiting for the shuttle to take you to your off-campus destination.

In the end, I’d rather stay on campus and feel like a part of the vibrant campus community, even if it means paying a bit more.