Our View: Off-campus housing for seniors

The Carrier’s editorial opinion represents the views of the senior members of the Campus Carrier and Viking Fusion news staff.

Many rising seniors have to rethink their housing options for next year. Residence Life recently gave notice that no students will be approved for off-campus housing for next year.

Arguments for keeping seniors on campus include increased campus activity and involvement, mentorship to younger students and a stronger campus community. Berry administration also admits that it is the most economical option for them to fill every space on campus. Simply put, empty rooms means less money from students.

It would be unfair to entirely blame the decision on money. The administration does want a united campus with high student involvement – Berry is well-known for high levels of student engagement. But these goals are coming from faculty and staff that will be staying at Berry for the foreseeable future. Most of us enjoy calling Berry our home, but no matter how we feel, we will only be here for about four years. By the time senior year rolls around, most students are thinking more about their futures and less about how many evening speakers they want to listen to.

This January, the Carrier published an editorial about living in a gated community. It laid out several downfalls remaining in the “Berry bubble.” Some of these downfalls included being less involved in the Rome community, having a distorted view of diverse communities in the outside world and having a false sense of security from meal plans and a lack of financial responsibility.

The piece ended with a call to action: “Although Berry is a gated community, the white fences surrounding main campus are not the problem we face as a college. We need to prioritize engagement with the Rome community, because it is ours too. We need to make connections between Berry students and Rome citizens, and break down the wall of privilege between the college and the outer community in order to make our students ‘Life Ready.’” We feel this statement still holds true.

In regards to the argument about upperclassmen mentoring underclassman, this can surely still be done while living off campus. In fact, off-campus housing can offer a means of escape from the stressful, sometimes stifled campus life that underclassmen must navigate 24/7. Befriending an upperclassman with an apartment on Broad Street could be a breath of fresh air, both for upperclassmen and their underclassmen friends that need to escape the bubble for a while.

Even though college is, by nature, separate from the “real world,” Berry is more separated than most. Instead of being sheltered for four years and then having rent and meal preparation and utilities smack you in the face when you leave, why not ease students into the outside world? There are very few places where your job, friends, food and bedroom are all within walking distance. While this phenomenon is exciting for a time, it is not life-like. And, as was previously mentioned, making students “Life Ready” is kind of our thing here.

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