Food, freedom call SMC students off campus
Many Saint Mary's students are choosing to live off-campus because of dissatisfaction with their on-campus lifestyle, citing a desire for more freedom unavailable on campus and a dissatisfaction with food provided by the dining halls.
"It's a way to have more space and food choice," junior Laura Merry said. "My roommates and I studied abroad last year, and because we lived on our own we felt it would then be hard to return to dorm living. How do you go back to a sorority?"
"One of the main reasons I moved off campus was the dining hall because I am a vegan and I did not feel they offered enough variety and healthy foods," senior Catalina Bajuyo said.
Dana North, director of Residence Life, said there is enough housing for those students who decide to live on campus, but each year the College acknowledges a certain percentage of students will live off campus.
"From previous years statistics, typically we have about 20 percent of our students who live off campus," North said. "This has been a pretty consistent number for the past six years."
While North said there will not be any renovations occurring in the residence halls this summer, one new program is going to be implemented by the Center for Women's Intercultural Leadership (CWIL). The program will exist in one residence hall where students from various ethnic, cultural and racial backgrounds would choose to live together and participate in reflections and programming.
"A positive move for dorm living is CWIL sponsoring the multicultural activities," Bajuyo said. "Saint Mary's students don't get a taste of reality while living on campus and so this new program is a good thing."
While many Saint Mary's students are satisfied with living on campus, a sense of freedom and a transition into the real world made life off campus much more attractive.
"I enjoyed being on campus because all my friends were around, but I felt confined," Merry said. "My boyfriend called the dorm a jail."
A major factor in deciding whether or not to live off campus is the distance and the condition of the apartment or house. Students said it is important to look into how helpful the landlord will be, how much crime is committed in the area, what the noise levels are and how much the living space costs.
"Living at Turtle Creek is walking distance to Notre Dame and biking distance to Saint Mary's, but for this we pay more," Merry said. "It is like pulling teeth to get anything done,. We have had problems with ants, and my car has got broken into."
Saint Mary's Master Plan calls for on-campus apartments to be built that would be used by upperclassmen. Each apartment will have its own kitchen and include a washer and dryer.
However, there is not a date established for when work on these apartments will begin.
"I think the apartments will be great, and I would have stayed on campus if they had them now," Merry said.
All News Stories for Thursday, February 28, 2002