Upper campus living comes with benefits for upperclassmen

After a long day of classes, studying and work, the junior or senior UW-Eau Claire student needs a place to rest and call home.

Usually this is an apartment or house off campus. Nevertheless, a dorm on campus can be just as much of a positive environment for an upperclassman.

While most upperclassmen choose to live off campus, staying on campus comes with benefits that you might not always consider.
Senior organizational communication major Katie Allan has lived both on and off campus as an upperclassman and is glad she lived in the dorms for three years.

One of the most positive aspects of living on campus is the unique kind of community sustained among students who live there.

“There are definitely more opportunities to meet new people when you’re on campus,” Allan said.

The dorms provide students with a healthy social environment because it’s easy to meet and get to know people when you live among so many of them.

On the other hand, it’s important to remember that living on campus is not for everyone and being around people so much may be a downside to living in the dorms because you always have a roommate and other students next door.

Living in a house or apartment often allows you to have more privacy and separation between home and school.

“It’s a place where you can be done with school, and when you’re in the dorms, it’s more like you’re still at school,” Allan said.

Yet, the convenience of living on campus with academic buildings only a short walk away and having “your life all in one place,” as Allan said, often makes a significant difference.

Another convenient aspect of life in the dorms is not needing to buy groceries and cook your own meals. While some students find eating and making their own food a better and healthier option, it’s easy to simply go to “the Caf” rather than cook a meal or go to a restaurant. The cafeteria can also be a place to have community and connect with other people, Allan said.

An important factor to consider on the topic of food is its cost, and the cost of living on or off campus in general. The College Board averages the cost of on campus room and board to $6,720 per year, while off campus averages $6,300. This includes utilities and food.

Living on campus can be more cost effective, and buying groceries can be cheaper than the meal plan’s average cost of $1,525 per year, but it depends on how wisely an off campus student spends money.

Despite the cost, living on campus can be beneficial for a student’s involvement in extracurricular activities. Students who live off campus might not have as much exposure to advertisements for organizations, and they may also not be as connected.

Allan is involved in one student organization, a Christian organization on campus called Cru, and she made an important point about being a part of a student organization when living off campus.

“It depends on the organization … but, I think it’s harder to get to know freshmen and sophomores from those organizations and be connected that way,” she said.

The choice to live on or off campus depends largely on where your friends are. Many upperclassmen move off campus because it’s what their friends do, and people tend to move with their groups of people. If the majority of an upperclassman’s friends live off campus, that student is less likely to live on campus.

On this topic, it is important to remember that the choice to live on or off campus depends significantly on personal preference and there are advantages and disadvantages to both environments.

However, keep in mind that living on campus is, as Allen said, “a unique experience that you don’t get once you’re out of college.”