University convinced him to be a commuter

I’m just another statistic.

I’m now a commuter student, a part of the 88% that, according to the university’s fact sheet from 2013-14, make up the student body.

After two years of living on campus that saw me calling Shiple Hall 510 and East Quad 213 home, I made the switch and now rent a house in Hazel Park.

And you know what? I love it.

Sure, I’ve only been living there since mid-August but the little things have already added up.

Being able to cook my own food, having my own room and the sense of independence that comes with renting a house are all things I’ve enjoyed.

Plus, continuing to live with the only roommate I’ve ever known at UDM and his older brother, who’s also my fraternity brother, has been great. I couldn’t ask for better guys.

I do miss some aspects of on-campus life.

The days of sleeping in until 10 minutes before class (those were rare occurrences, of course) are gone. So are the days of being a quick walk from my fraternity house.

But so are the random fire alarms and drills, loud neighbors above and below my floor and the overall lack of on-campus community.

I didn’t envision myself living off campus during my four years when I was a naïve freshman.

“Who wants to be a commuter? Not me,” I thought.

Then there were the weekends when I wouldn’t see a soul on campus or my floor for hours on end. The seed of doubt had been planted.

So when my roommate brought up the idea of eventually living off campus when we were upperclassmen I couldn’t wait.

But before we were upperclassmen, I still had at least one year left on campus and would be living in East Quad.

I didn’t mind living in the Quads, it was certainly an upgrade over the fifth floor of Shiple. The bathrooms had just been renovated before I moved in and my suitemates were two friends that I originally met on my SOAR.

It wasn’t a bad setup.

But going into last year, I’m not sure if I ever gave the idea of living on campus past my sophomore year a fair chance.

In my mind I was going to be living off campus, I just had to convince my parents, which proved to be easier than originally thought.

I made a clear-cut spreadsheet detailing just how much renting a house would save. I had bought a car for school before sophomore year began so I didn’t need to worry about that. The selling pieces were in place.

But the final nail in the coffin of living on-campus? That was all UDM’s doing.

Since I’m an out-of-state student I qualified for an out-of-state incentive grant.

It equated to $2,750 per year so it was nothing to scoff at. Then last year UDM cut it.

The only incentive, outside of convenience, was gone.

While UDM did combine the rates for housing and meal plans, I would still be spending $1,208 more per year had I stayed on campus. That’s four months rent where I’m living now.

If only UDM had better housing options (the University of Dayton’s student neighborhood comes to mind) I honestly believe more students, myself included, would live on campus all four years and that would do wonders for the school.

Just this past summer while interning in Cincinnati, I lived on Xavier University’s campus. Xavier is also a Jesuit university but its on-campus housing options were far superior to UDM’s.

I lived in The Village, which was an apartment complex. I had my own room, a full kitchen and had to share a bathroom with only one person. And that’s just one example.

There’s potential for UDM to strengthen its on-campus housing options and I wouldn’t be surprised if a new building or apartments are in the works. Nicer facilities bring more students and more students might just bring that sense of community that UDM desperately needs for on-campus life.

As for me? I’ll gladly continue to be a statistic.

Well, at least until the snow starts falling.


Walsworth is VN news editor