On and off-campus housing issues

As many students look for inexpensive places to live on and around campus, Campus Living does not make it any easier or affordable to find on-campus housing. With summer vacation quickly approaching, Lewis & Clark students are stuck between a rock and a hard place to find solutions to the housing problem on Palatine Hill.

The campus housing representatives often take for granted the availability of housing off campus, whether it be on Palatine Hill or in the surrounding neighborhoods. For many other small liberal arts colleges, the option to live off campus is not one that many (if any) students can afford. Many schools, like Harvard University in Boston, have almost their entire student body residing on the campus. Then why you may ask, is LC so different? Why are students able to move off campus so easily, and why do so many opt to do so? The answer, simply, is that the cost of living on campus is twice that of living off campus. According to the school website, the cost of getting a single room for a semester is $3,839, including all living expenses except for food. Rental prices off campus are reasonably priced, Kelly Valentine ’18 says.

“You could get a room on the hill for between $400-500 per month plus utilities, which is good considering what you’re paying for,” Valentine said.

When you add room and board together, the cost of living on campus is around $2,500 more per semester than living off campus.

Price of one semester on campus: $3,839

Length of semester: 16 weeks including finals

Price per month: $959.76

14 flex (150): $2,684

Total on campus/semester: $6,523

Off campus housing: $2,400 rent/utilities

Estimated food costs for off campus living: $400/month


Josh Fischera ’18, a two year veteran of on-campus living who moved off campus this spring after studying abroad in the fall, had a strong opinion about on-campus housing.

“As much as I love waking up to vomit outside my door and around the shower, as well as the symphony of intoxicated athletes showcasing their impressive vocal capacities far earlier in the morning than I would like, off campus living is able to provide me with a nicer, larger room, a full house to use, all for much less than the cost of living on campus,” Fischera said.

Living off campus gives students like Fischera an opportunity to take a step away from the hustle and bustle of academic life at LC in order to get some breathing room. One way Fischera finds his escape is through cooking. He explains that “rather than face regular and daily extortion at the hands of Betty upon entering the Bon, [he is] much more equipped to deal with more moderate financial drain at our local Fred Meyer supermarket.”

Although the prices are much better living off campus, students have to think about the trade-off before deciding to move. For many students, the convenience of living on campus greatly outweighs the inconvenience of transportation, food preparation and all of the other responsibilities that come with living in a house off campus.

According to a recent email from The Bark, LC is looking into remodelling some of the dorms for undergraduate housing. The email advertised free pizza and a conversation with representatives from Campus Living along with Mahlum Architects and Anderson Strickler, a Market and Financial Analysis Consulting firm from Portland. The meeting was set in Smith Hall with room and enough pizza for 50 people, but only eight students showed up.

LC has a 154 page document called “master plan” which can be found on the school website. This document contains information about what the school had hoped to accomplish since the document’s release in 2008. On page 125 in the section about undergraduate housing on campus, the document says “replace with new residence hall” for all of the Forest housing facilities. I found it interesting that the oldest buildings on campus, both Hartzfeld and Copeland, were not on this list. On top of that, it was interesting to see that the school has planned to replace all of these residence halls since 2008, but since then no progress has been made.

As students look for housing opportunities off and on campus and try to choose which option is the best fit for them, whether economically or logistically, they are offered very few options. If Campus Living were to partially subsidize housing for people who have lived on campus for more than two years, not only would other students trying to find housing on Palatine Hill beless pressed to find a place to live, but on campus life would benefit greatly from a larger upperclassmen presence.

If you are interested in providing feedback to Campus Living on the current student housing situation, please take their survey at http://www.chesdata.com/aslsurveys/LC2017/.


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