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OPINION: A case for off-campus housing

Jean Donaldson is a sophomore biology major. (Photo provided)

Jean Donaldson is a sophomore biology major. (Photo provided)

To live off campus at the university, you must meet one of the following requirements –be over 21 and a senior, be older than 22, be married or live at home and provide a written letter showing your parents’ consent for you to commute.

I was surprised to discover that the independence often attributed to college life was quite limited by the college itself – my main concern being the rules placed on off campus housing.

After living under the rules established by parents at home, many thirst for the independence college life is expected to bring. Some quickly come to realize that residence hall life is just not for them. Unfortunately, with Huntington only having 20 campus apartments, there isn’t room for many to live away from a traditional dorm style of student housing.

For those who struggle with dorm life and can’t get into a campus apartment, the next best option is an off campus apartment or house. However, because of the tight rules placed upon off campus housing, most students can’t do this either.

I respect the university’s efforts toward building a strong community through individuals who are able to interact with others and follow an agreed-upon way of life, but in my opinion, the rules suggest that students can’t be trusted to uphold the university’s way of life unless monitored by resident staff.

Suddenly, the image of college independence is shattered. It is replaced with other’s perceptions that we must not be responsible enough to support ourselves and make smart decisions without being over a certain age or under the supervision of our parents.

The rules governing off campus housing are stringent. Requiring my parents to confirm I was indeed living at home baffles me. I can’t imagine why the university should prevent young adults – who are paying for an education – to live in a location that will best suit the individual’s needs, whether those needs be financial (on campus housing and the required meal plan is expensive), educational (dorms typically don’t produce a conducive study environment) or personal (the community built in dorms pales in comparison to the community built between those living in one house).

While some may be perfectly content living in a residence hall for four years, others are itching to start a living outside of the confined campus bubble. Unfortunately, unless they are married, older than 21, or still wanting to live at home, that cannot be the case.

Jean Donaldson is a sophomore biology major. This column reflects the views of the writer only. Jean can be reached at donaldsonj1@huntington.edu. 

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