I live in Southside, or, as most people know it, GLC. When I tell people where I live, they usually feel bad for me. It’s almost like I live in another part of the country. After living here for a little over a week, I can definitively say it’s not bad. Really.

For those new to UR, Southside is about a 10-minute walk from the new Pura Vida coffee shop. It’s essentially two 11-story towers surrounded by small apartments with each individual having his or her own room and sharing a kitchen and a bathroom with one or two other people. Typically, it’s also where sophomores live after losing out in the housing lottery at the end of freshman year. However, the image that people have of Southside may be different from the reality of what it’s actually like to live here.

The University has already tried to make Southside a more desirable location, and its good work has not gone unnoticed. The Office of Residential Life has given students an extra half-point toward the following year’s housing lottery and a slightly smaller housing bill, and Dining Services has opened the Southside Market. All of these things are fine additions, but most students still fear living here, perhaps because of the two major concerns that I’ve experienced so far: the current bus schedule and the difficulties with the dining plan.

The new UR shuttles are clean and pleasant to ride on; however, it is inexcusable that they run as infrequently as they do. I, like many other Southsiders, would be more than willing to pay an extra $10 to $20 a month to get more regular bus service to campus. Having two busses continuously loop through the short route would solve this problem and provide residents the comfort and security of making the trip to campus at their convenience. Instead of taking money off our housing bill, it could go into helpful services like this. If people knew that they had a quick ride at all times throughout the day, they wouldn’t have to worry about the distance to campus.

The dining plan has also been frustrating. It is a 20-minute walk to get to the closest location where I can use a club meal. The Southside Market should carry a few items that can be clubbed. It would be tremendously helpful to know that I don’t have to kill my declining every time I want to get something to eat. Alternatively, Dining Services could offer a meal plan only to Southside residents that would require fewer club meals and an increase in declining. This would be similar to the smaller meal plan only available to students living off campus.

Southside isn’t nearly bad as you might hear. There are some great things about being here. The University just needs to do a better job in making it an even more desirable location. Making a few minor alterations may dramatically change the way students view Southside. By doing this, it may be one step toward alleviating the yearly housing crunch.

Wasserman is a member of the class of 2010.

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