Students look for social, resource benefits for on-campus living requirement

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2-year Residency Requirement 2

Students at the University often look for ways to decrease their expenses during their studies, but for many, required living fees appear to be worth it.

Undergraduate University students are required to live on campus for the first two years of their academic careers. Though some schools in Ohio have voted this requirement out of the rule book, different people at the University want to keep it.

The University’s website outlines this policy, stating that the school’s Board of Trustees made this decision due to findings indicating “students who live on campus have a higher GPA — and persistence towards graduation — faster than their peers who live off campus.”

Part of this agreement is that the affected residents will partake in dining services offers for their required years. Both the living and the dining requirements generate large fees on student accounts.

Senior Jamond Hampton, computer science major, said this price issue was his main problem with living on campus for his three previous years. He laughed as he said his University-paid expenses dropped from about $20,000 to $8,000 per year when he left campus living.

He said, however, that the price of the experience was not enough to stop him from enjoying it. He said his freshman year in the now-defunct Harshman Hall was his “best year” of college — it was “the best dorm for making friends.” It was only after these friends he made his freshman year left campus life that he also decided to live elsewhere.

David Homoelle, sophomore international human development major, also praised the social benefits of on-campus life.

“Honestly, my first year here was when I met the most people,” he said.

Homoelle said most of the friends he still interacts with met him during his freshman year, which he described as “living independently with training wheels.”

He also praised the convenience the University offers in terms of academic and living resources. He said the location of residence halls eases the schedule-planning process and makes him not “need to worry where my next meal is coming from.”

While he enjoyed his first year, however, he said residence hall changes made his second year feel “pointless.” Most of Homoelle’s friends went to different places, and he did not feel the need to make new ones in his newer residence.

Scott Spiess, another sophomore, agreed with Homoelle’s feelings about the convenience of campus living. He said he liked being around the places where school events occurred and where necessities could be gotten.

He also highlighted the fact a residence on campus lets students become more familiar with the school as they study.

“That way, you get to know campus as well,” he said.

His main problem with campus living was the quality of rooms themselves, him citing the Offenhauer towers rooms as limited in space.

Neither Homoelle nor Spiess said they considered the price of living in a dorm an issue; both, however, said they planned to live off-campus next semester for fresh experiences.

Homoelle, who will live in the Newman Housing area of St. Thomas More church next year, said his move was primarily motivated by his desire to join the community of Catholic students the church provides. Spiess mentioned his move was simply motivated by wanting to experience a different type of lifestyle in an apartment.

Both underclassmen also said they would likely have lived on campus were there no rule enforcing such a situation, saying they wanted that first-year experience for its social and wayfinding merits.

Exceptions exist for the school’s residency rule. For the coming 2018-2019 academic year, students who commute from a permanent residence 50 miles by car away from the school, are married, are independent students as of Aug. 27, 2018 or are parents with custody of a child may be excluded from the rule. In addition, students who are transferring to Bowling Green with two years of education at another institution, those with 12 months of active military service and those turning 20-years-old on or before Aug. 27 this year may avoid the requirement.

Though this requirement is still in use, various changes to campus have made it more difficult for the school to enforce it.

The planned demolition of Harshman Hall has been one of the biggest complication points. Without the 1960s-era building, the University’s maximum student capacity dropped from about 6,500 students to 5,900, according to a 2016 BG Falcon Media article. To account for students who want to attend that exceed that maximum, the University has partnered with local renting agencies to provide housing that still counts as “on-campus” living.

Additionally, this smaller figure for housing has caused more upperclassmen to migrate to off-campus spaces. Hampton had said this space issue was another factor that convinced him to leave campus life.

Despite these issues, Hampton and other students said they appreciated their experience living on University grounds. “I thought living on campus was fun,” Hampton said.