There are many unusual qualities about Centre’s campus including a small following of people deeply devoted to the sport of badminton, our celebrated victory over Harvard which is about to be 100 years old, and the chance that you might run into your professor or President Roush at 9:30 P.M. in the gym. These elements of our community are emboldened by the close-knit nature of our campus, forged due to the fact that 98 percent of the student body lives on campus for all four years of their time on campus. However, that leaves 2 percent of campus experiencing Centre differently than the rest of us. Why are they living off campus and what is it like?

Joe Sharp, a senior in his fifth year at Centre, reports that he enjoys his off-campus status.

“I love it, I’m on campus all the time so it doesn’t really make a difference. However, I think that it shouldn’t be so hard for other students to move off campus.” Sharp said.

Students who live off campus do spend large amounts of time on campus, hanging at friend’s dorms and studying at the library. Living off campus doesn’t prevent them from participating in Centre events or from being integral members of the community.

Though students already off campus may enjoy their status, many do not enjoy the process that it took to get them there. If students want to live off campus they must attend multiple meetings, send in extensive paperwork, and even all that doesn’t guarantee their exit from campus housing. Students who apply to live off campus are put in a queue are notified if they will be allowed to move off campus depending on how many new students move in. This makes it difficult for students moving off campus to make plans for their falling fall, and if they aren’t allowed to leave campus they then must scramble to find housing for themselves the following semester.

Many students, including sophomore Morgan Miller, move off campus because its cheaper. At Centre, we pay a flat rate for our tuition but included in that tuition is the cost for room and board. Students like Morgan Miller are hoping to avoid some of those extra costs by moving off campus, however most will still be required to purchase a meal plan even if they aren’t living on campus.

Morgan Miller shared that she wants to move off campus because “if I can save money, then, why wouldn’t I? Especially since I’m going abroad in the spring and saving for that would be great.”

Students like Morgan are still required to pay some housing tuition that contributes to the upkeep of the school and other dorms. Additionally, Morgan wants to move off campus and get a dietary exemption from the meal plan because she has unusual dietary needs, including an allergy to mint and cinnamon, limiting what she can eat in Cowan.

Though many of us enjoy living in dorms for all four years of college, it’s a nationally unique trait about our campus. Students at other universities and colleges often move off campus after the first year or live off campus right from the beginning. Centre does enjoy many benefits from having such a tight knit campus, but the question remains if the process is fair to students who might want to do something different. More diverse living situations may allow students to develop closer ties to the community and the cheaper rates may allow students to attend Centre who might not be able to afford Centre’s regular tuition without astronomical student loans.

Whether a person is moving off-campus or not, wherever you are, you’re a colonel no matter what. There likely won’t be a change in policy any time soon, but as Centre struggles to resolve its housing issues, including overcrowding, allowing students to more freely move off campus might be an option that benefits all parties involved. Whether you live on campus or off, you’ll always be a colonel, and that is what counts.

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