Kaitlyn Deady, a senior international business major, was apprehensive about the move off campus for her senior year at Quinnipiac. She spent the summer worrying if she would still see her friends or if they would lose touch. Deady envied friends at other universities who were living on campus for their senior year.
“Spring semester last year I was all stressed out about housing, and all summer I was dreading living off campus because I felt like I would never see anyone,” Deady said.
With more than 5,000 undergraduate students, Quinnipiac only guaranteed three years of housing to this year’s graduating class, forcing most seniors to find off campus housing. There are pluses and minuses to this.
Living off campus gives students a greater responsibility with paying bills, housecleaning, and shoveling their own driveways. These responsibilities can help students to prepare for life after college.
“I think seniors need to live off campus to experience this responsibility so they are prepared after they graduate,” said senior Resident Assistant Sara Fisher, a politics, ethics, and culture major, who must remain on campus because of her job. “I feel like I am missing out on the responsibility of living on my own.”
Commuting seniors compete for parking spaces in North Lot. Some park in Hogan Lot and take a shuttle to academic buildings. As a result, they usually leave their homes up to 45 minutes before an on campus commitment and can no longer jump out of bed and walk to class.
“When I lived on campus I went outside and played football,” said senior economics major Russell Miskiewicz. “I could just go out. I didn’t have to drive anywhere. It was just nice to be able to walk out and walk back to your room.”
When living in the dorms, everything a student needs is available without leaving campus, from late night pizza delivery to the library. Seniors living off campus find their existence much less insular.
“I go out at least once a day, whether it’s to food shop, or to just go to buy CD’s or something,” Deady said. “I like getting out and cruising around town for an hour or so.”
Students share apartments or houses and must pay their own bills including groceries, rent and utilities. With limited parking, some students carpool and arrange to get together after classes since they cannot count on dorm socializing.
“When you’re off campus it’s more like real life so it’s a better transition,” said senior political science major Arthur Jackson. “The campus is very confined and close knit. This is almost like a learning experience.”
But many living off campus are not as enthusiastic.
Senior political science and history major Leif Parsell, head of the Quinnipiac Republicans, said, “I believe that by forcing the seniors off campus they have greatly harmed Quinnipiac’s relations with Hamden.”
One Hamden resident, Robert Kelsey, has started an online petition to remove Quinnipiac students from living in the community. The Web site www.quinnipiac-university-students-off-campus.org includes links to news articles about Quinnipiac students, mostly relating to incidents involving alcohol.
Living off campus, students can do things that were not permitted in the dorm: burn candles, smoke indoors, use kitchen grills, and have a guest without signing in. They are not required to comply by the quiet hours rules enforced on campus. Most do not go to parties on campus, opting instead for local bars in Hamden. There are no shuttles to take them home nor can they just walk. If they are going to drink, seniors say, they designate non-drinking drivers or take cabs.
“My friends and I opt to take cabs because that is the safest option to ensure that everyone has a good time and nobody gets hurt,” said senior health science major Lauren Meigh. “After a while this is very inconvenient to our wallets.”
There is another plus, seniors say: The class has been brought closer together by being in the same situation.
“The time spent on campus was awesome and I loved every minute of it,” Deady said. “But this year has been my favorite year so far.”