Three years ago, a change was made to Quinnipiac’s residential policies. This change currently guarantees housing for only the first three years of a student’s college experience. As a result, arrangements must be made to find off-campus accommodations for senior year.
Stacey Jackson, assistant director of Residential Life, shared her thoughts on the policy change.
“Living outside the residence halls will provide you with experiences that you would not have if you were living on campus,” said Jackson.
I agree with her. By living on campus, students would not have the “wonderful” experiences of commuting back and forth each day, dealing with traffic, fighting for parking spots and spending more money to pay for gas and apartment utilities.
How unfortunate! In actuality, living off campus is not all that the university officials crack it up to be.
For instance, let’s examine the issues involved with commuting. Along with the “liberating” experience of living off campus comes the confining reality of being trapped in a car every day in order to get to and from school.
“Part of your senior year should be dedicated to making the transition to living outside of the college environment,” said Jackson.
However, with the increasing mileage on their cars, the only transition that students are making is to become less motivated in returning to the college environment each day.
Glenn Giangrande, a senior currently living in the Stonybrook Apartments complex in East Haven, is one such commuter.
“I hated moving off campus,” he said. “The commute is tedious sometimes, like when I had yoga last semester at 2 p.m. on Tuesdays, my only class of the day. Some days I just didn’t want to make the trip.”
Similarly, Alli Keller, a senior living in Chestnut Hills Apartments in Hamden, is annoyed by the hindrances that parking and weather conditions pose to those who have no choice but to live off campus.
“It’s a pain having to find parking,” she said. “It makes you not want to go back to campus just to go to the gym. It’s very inconvenient. Also, the plowing the town does when it snows inhibits us from going to campus for class.”
The residential policy not only affects odometers; it affects wallets too. Rather than putting money towards on-campus housing payments, seniors are now forced to pay for gasoline and food. These costs eventually add up, especially when you include apartment utilities and climbing rents. It is Jackson’s feeling that the moving process can be economical.
“Seniors can find less expensive housing,” she said. “It all depends on the amenities that they are looking for in an apartment.”
While some dreamy-eyed college students have their hearts set on apartments inclusive of walk-in closets, Jacuzzis to unwind in, state-of-the-art fitness centers and “Mission Impossible” technology, most of these soon-to-be seniors are looking for such “luxuries” as heat, air-conditioning, electricity, phone service and running water. Some might even want to splurge for cable.
Essentially the costs of these necessities build up and students are faced with bills that scholarship money, grants, loans, and other financial aid cannot help to pay.
“I think it’s technically less expensive in terms of rent [to live off-campus], but I’m spending more money because I pay some of the bills, gas and other things,” said Keller.
Quinnipiac’s reformed housing policy might be successful in conserving room on campus for incoming students, but it is leaving a bitter taste in the mouths of those seniors, such as Giangrande, who feel they are unwelcome in a place that has been their home for three years:
“I like being close to people and close to the organizations that I work in,” he said. “I really looked forward to being a senior on campus and Q.U. took it away from me.”