Ahh, to live close to the center of campus. To be able to commute a frantic five-minute spree to class each day, to grab a quick cheeseburger at the Pit during prime no-traffic hours, to play rough-and-tumble Frisbee on the rare days Rochester weather provides more than just frost. The rooms are spacious; the life is quintessentially carefree.
Despite that students every year avidly flock to sign up for housing on the Quad, the most coveted space at the University, its benefits do not overshadow those of other living arrangements. While students anxiously await papers declaring their dorm designations, there is much anxiety about placement for next year’s students, availability of friends and amount of campus activities planned.
One compelling reason why students prefer closer housing is because of the location of other options, which can put a damper on their ability to traipse in five minutes late and frantically out of breath for important appointments. In terms of distance, Hill Court also seems like quite a stretch, as a walk home on a chilly weekend would likely require parkas and hand warmers. However, it offers many of the same benefits, as it provides singles to many fraternity brothers and sorority sisters who get the benefits of privacy with the antics of Greek involvement and reap the reward of its placement a little further away, beyond the wary eye of Resident Advisers who might lift a suspicious brow. It is also a center for fraternity/sorority culture, where deep-seated ideas about community and tradition can be better explored.
And why does Towers get such a bad reputation for its distance, too? Admittedly, it isn’t as much of a trek as Southside, but I’ve heard fellow students complain dozens of times about the icy slope that parallels Susan B. Anthony Halls, as if walking to Towers is some sort of cross-country backpacking overhaul. Despite this initially seeming like a problem, I’ve never heard complaints that sliding down that same slope on a cafeteria tray was not an effective time-saving technique. And, though this may seem like a gastrointestinal defeat, Towers’ easy access to Danforth Dining Hall can provide students with infinite amounts of smuggled cereal.
Admittedly, the Fraternity Quad’s sanitary conditions are probably not the most ideal. However, there are plenty of benefits to living on the Frat Quad, for any male (and there are plenty) who can stomach creepy crawlers. For instance, many fraternities offer singles to their brothers as an added benefit of acceptance, and personal chefs are an absolute dream for those of us (ahem, all of us) who struggle indefinitely with meal plans. In terms of community, the Frat Quad offers excellent housing for those freshly accepted frat guys who want to learn more about their fellow chest-thumping Greek mates.
Undoubtedly, next year’s Riverview apartments provide much in terms of new, modern living spaces and increasing awareness of student needs. For instance, Riverview apartments offer amenities such as air conditioning and separate living rooms and kitchens. There is also an additional parking lot, where students can keep their vehicles so that they have opportunities to explore life outside of campus, a great boon for those of us who appreciate a wild road trip every now and then. Despite its placement further away – a 10-minute walk from campus – the Riverview apartments have much in terms of modern living space and access to the community.
Lastly, we come to off-campus housing, which offers a variety of options all tailored to specific student needs. Enjoy pets and lots of company? Need wheelchair access or a decent laundry machine? Want a fireplace for those snowy evenings? Off-campus housing provides students with valuable options not found anywhere else on campus, from opportunities to throw housewarming parties to actually deciding the color of your bedroom wall. While local housing is a specific market and you must have a wallet available to fund this choice, it is an ideal option for those students who desire personal preference and are willing to pay for it.
So maybe housing on campus isn’t always the worry-riddled, limited decision students get tense about at the end of the year – the problem anxiously debated for weeks on end, come this time of year. Or maybe I’m just vying for a spot in Tiernan myself. Whatever works for you.
Titus is a member of the class of 2011.