Eastern Off-Campus Housing Update For Upcoming School Year

For years, students have enjoyed living in Eastern’s off-campus apartments, the Village. However, the Village apartments are now being reserved for Eastern’s graduate students. Dr. Bettie Ann Brigham says that this has been the plan since the Village was purchased from the Valley Forge Military Academy. Therefore, undergraduate students will have to stay on campus in future years.

Eastern is, and always has been, a residential campus. This means that if the students are full-time, they must live in the dorms. Of course, there are exceptions to this. According to “Campus Housing” on the Eastern website, if students live with their parents, serve in the military, or are 23 years or older, they have the option to live off-campus. Part-time students are permitted to live off-campus as well, but they do have the choice to reside on campus.

Though students are permitted to apply for off-campus housing when the dormitories are full. Brigham cautions them, “We have had a number of students ask for commuter status and then find that they can’t afford the extra costs.” Many times, students do not consider costs such as internet, food, and television, to name a few and then struggle to pay their bills. Also, students should not complete a lease agreement unless they have been granted permission to live off campus. Otherwise, they could be looking at two very large bills: one for their lease and one for residency at Eastern. At this time, however, the housing department is not accepting applications for students wishing to live off-campus.

Eastern decided to become a residential campus due to research that shows that students are better prepared for adult responsibilities when they spend time within the community of a college dormitory. According to Brigham, Eastern invests in being a residential campus due to the growth that “students go through when living in intentional community with guidance.” This growth can be both spiritual and philosophical. The environment within the dorms encourages students to get to know one another, and can also cultivate the spiritual aspects of their lives.

When a student becomes a resident, they must have a meal plan. Not only does this encourage health, it also encourages community within the student body. There are three different meal plans, but they cost the same amount of money so that students are able to choose the option that suits them the best, without worrying over the cost. First-year students are required to have the unlimited meal plan, but this is in place to help their transfer, from home to college, go more smoothly.

Being a residential campus also helps the students financially. “If we didn’t require residency, the grants that students receive would not be as high.” Brigham says. Brigham also claims that “we don’t try to make money on the dorms, but we try to meet all of our costs, so we need to be full.” Therefore, Eastern strives to fill the dorms each year.

In the future, Eastern hopes to renovate all of the residence buildings. For now, however, the focus is on Doane Hall, and depending on financial circumstances, the housing department hopes to be able to renovate all of the floors in Doane.

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