One of the decisions every student must make after picking a post-secondary institution is whether to live on campus, live nearby in off-campus housing, or live at home. Recently UFV has been gathering opinions about housing from students, in exchange for a little snack — many students flocked to the smell of pizza and gladly exchanged their thoughts for food.
The main concerns students had were cost of living, space, privacy, and safety. The biggest issue that keeps many of us from living on campus or renting nearby is the cost. Personally, the amount of money it would take for me to live in Abbotsford or Chilliwack is less than the amount of money it would take for me to insure my car and pay for the gas. As it stands, it is more cost efficient to live at home than at school.
Students at UFV presented a good case for living at home, but I wanted to know if these thoughts could be considered universal in the B.C. area. I spoke with a student from Trinity Western University (TWU) and a student from the University of British Columbia (UBC). Both students are currently living in dorms at their respective institutions.
When speaking to my source from TWU, I was particularly curious why one would move into dorms there when some students struggle to just pay the university’s tuition.
“I thought it would be a great way to get involved in school events and to bond with other people in the university community,” they explained. “To me, one aspect that would make me not want to live in dorms again could be the expense, especially at TWU. Another aspect would be that there is less privacy. And so, even though I live pretty close to campus, I still chose to move into dorms because it has allowed me to get the full university experience.”
It is a wonder as to why so many people choose to live on campus at TWU considering many of the students live locally and the cost is so high. Perhaps a community campus life is more desirable than I thought — or maybe there is more to the choice than I considered.
When I asked my UBC source about their thoughts about living on campus, I was given an answer that is becoming more and more familiar: “I decided to dorm because to commute to school was too time consuming and I wanted to get more involved in school life in my first year. The prices are … steep for housing and food. I [also] lack the emotional support from my family [that I would have at home]. It is more convenient to live in [residence] since it’s a two-hour commute to my house.”
From the UFV, TWU, and UBC communities I have heard one particular statement over and over: the cost is heavy in comparison to living near campus or at home. Something I hear often from our students here at UFV is that there is a lack of community, so paying to spend more time on campus seems absurd. Community may be the key to bringing in more students to campus. After all, much of the commuting community tends to only go to class and then go home. If we emphasize the clubs and associations that are on campus and add more housing, the students will move in.
Here at UFV there is in fact a community that needs to be advertised more. Numerous clubs are small and unknown. I have been going to events for multiple UFV clubs and associations in the past few weeks. I am convinced that living on campus is where I need to be next fall semester. But what would it take for you to join the UFV residential community? Is it true that the cost is actually what keeps people away?
Housing at UFV will require more development and will hopefully see a future influx in comparison to the recent influx of commuters. UFV has proven they care and are listening; it’s our time to answer them. How will you answer?
Image: Ashley Mussbacher/The Cascade