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The truth about living on campus

I know that returning students who are reading this right now were just as heated as I was when rumors were going around about the Eastern’s new housing policy last fall.

Unbeknownst to many of us when we decided to attend, all students who enter Eastern in the fall of 2006 and after are required to be resident students as long as space is available. This new development caused quite a stir around our usually quiet St. David’s campus.

For me, it had always been my plan to live on campus for my freshman and sophomore years and then move off campus to jump-start my transition into the real world. To find out that I would be confined to living in Eastern’s residential bubble until I graduated made me want to bad-mouth this new policy to anyone who would listen. I thought I was making sacrifices to afford coming here, so why can’t Eastern make one little rule change in order to help me save money?

One of the reasons I chose to attend Eastern was because of the seclusion of the campus within a suburban town, just a train ride from Philadelphia. This campus and the area around it have always been residential, and that is the kind of close-knit community that Eastern desires to be known for.

Many students, including myself, thought that the requirement to live on campus was a recent decision made by certain officials, but the reality is that it has always been a desire to house as many students on campus as possible.

Eastern has been in a state of housing overflow for the last six years, which is why Eagle Hall was built and also why it seems like there are an overwhelming number of first-year and transfer students. According to Bettie Ann Brigham, vice president of student development, “Most schools, when they build a new building, require all students to live on campus.” She believes that Eastern has been flexible in allowing students to live on campus or accepting their desire to live elsewhere.

I know I can’t remember agreeing to live on campus for the four years that I will be enrolled here, but we all did agree to this arrangement. From the day we sent in the paperwork with our deposits, we agreed that as long as there was housing available, we would live on campus. But unfortunately, we can’t necessarily complain because we all agreed to it whether we were aware of it or not.

Honestly, this may seem like the end of the world to some and that is how I felt before I knew the whole story. But these requirements are only conditional depending on the projections for each year’s incoming class size.

When asked what her main message to students would be, Brigham simply said, “Residential living can be challenging, but students can grow more in college when they live on campus.”

I know that statement has been true so far in my tenure at Eastern, so my advice is to bear with the circumstances and know there’s a possibility that next year’s incoming class will be large enough to make living off-campus an option again.

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