College is a time of new found independence, growth and responsibility. Universities are well aware of the challenges and freedoms that college undergraduates face and to a certain extent, are responsible in aiding the acclamation process. Mandating freshman and sophomore students to live in dorms, limiting first semester credits and providing campus events to integrate the newcomers into their new home are examples of how universities aide in new student incorporation and the development of successful habits.
Following the mold, UW-Platteville has followed all of the examples above, with the exception of mandating that freshman and sophomore students live on campus. While a lot of the student body has believed that this has been in effect, it has not.
Last semester was the first instance in recent memory when there was not an option for sophomores to voluntarily reside off-campus. Our student body has been steadily growing while the number of rooms in residence halls remains stagnant, with the exception of Rountree Commons. As a result, fewer students were able to move off campus last fall. This trend will continue with the addition of Bridgeway Commons slated to open this coming fall.
There are mixed emotions among the student body when it comes to a two year obligation to the residency halls. Arguments range from the expense of on-campus living to the lack of freedom by way of Resident Assistants. However, the advantages do outweigh the disadvantages. Despite the inevitable quiet hours, regulations and expenses that accompany living in the dorms, it is something that should not be taken for granted.
Moving off campus is a rite of passage, and should not be taken lightly. Outside of the Residence Hall Association there are bills to be paid, landlords to appease and distant walks to class to be made. Living in the dorms is one of the only times in your life when you are surrounded by peers who, like you, are new to university life and require social stimulation much like when high school began. However, the difference here is that all residents are adults and are dealing with relatively the same issues.
The first two years of college is when the majority of one’s social circle will be constructed. As peer advisors will tell you during registration, “There will be a flurry of handshakes and friend requests.” From the various names and faces, one can pick and choose who is in their inner and outer circles, and which of those people will become potential lifelong friends.
In addition to the social aspect of dorm life, financial security is paramount. Having all of your bills and tuition consolidated into one charge every semester is a luxury that will not be afforded to you later in life. Bills for water, heat, electric, cable and internet on top of rent can be daunting for anyone and even more treacherous for someone who just started taking care of him or herself.
There are many arguments when it comes to on and off-campus living, but to gain the college experience and ease into adulthood, freshmen and sophomores should be required to live in residence halls.