Toward the end of every school year, freshmen, sophomores and juniors clamor for coveted suites in Hill Court and Towers and clusters on the Residence Quad. While some students prefer to live off campus, most students come to UR assuming they will live on campus for all four years. Many view living on campus as essential in order to fully enjoy and participate in undergraduate life.

At the end of this year, however, students are likely to face an even more difficult time securing the housing they desire because more students than ever will be participating in the housing lottery.

As a residential campus where much of the academic, social and extracurricular life depends on living on-campus, this year’s unusually large freshman class will no doubt lead to higher demand for the same number of rooms, thus forcing more students into less desirable housing arrangements and almost certainly forcing some students who would otherwise want to stay on campus to look at off-campus options. A higher percentage of students residing off campus is a serious reality that could change the atmosphere and attraction of UR.

Students must realize that this unexpected problem could affect them and it is worth their time to pay attention and get involved in discussions as the Office of Residential Life and the new Upperclassmen Housing Task Force work to find new options. Limited parking, mandatory meal plans, inconvenient public transportation and weather that frequently prohibits walking or biking from even the closest off-campus houses makes it difficult to enjoy the UR undergraduate experience while living off campus.

If you were told today that you would not be able to live on campus next year, what would you expect from the University? A University-owned off-campus housing arrangement? Third-party owned University-sponsored housing? Or simply more transportation and parking options? The University is supposed to feel like a home to everyone, but that will not happen as long as it feels like the roof is constantly about to fall in.

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