Photo by Jon Drews

Students intending to live off-campus may have noticed that more options for living style exist than those currently available on campus. With or without internet searches, Tech students can compare and contrast different housing plans available.

“I care more about my living space than living on campus,” said Amy Azad, a first-year ChemE.

The on-campus housing contract is a package of qualities that make it popular among freshmen. Most frequently addressed may be safety, proximity to student activities and an atmosphere for easy adaptation into college life in general. Campus-based housing also provides solutions to logistical questions like, “are furniture and utilities included in the rent?” and “do I pay a fine for ending
the lease?”

“I like being surrounded by people. When you’re off-campus it may be more dangerous outside the college bubble. I feel like I’d feel disconnected living off-campus,” said Katie Tokos,
first-year EAS.

The introductory course GT 1000 sprang from the overarching idea that freshmen should have a central experience. The Housing department embodies most of the initiative, which began 23 years ago as what is now known as the Freshmen Experience. Its objective was to bolster the retention rate from 89% in the mid 90’s to a status quo of 95%. One of the resulting legacies is a high proportion of peer-leaders, who focus on first-year students and residence assistance. Learning assistants also make the dorms function as a potential study hub for the residents.

“Living off-campus requires transportation which means a lot of money and time and that’s costly,” said Maria Garcia-Chinchilla, a freshman.

Housing has been calculating occupancy by anticipating changes in demand from year to year. One of the ways to balance cost is saving space.

“For Fall 2015, we have all halls open for the first time in 12 years,” said Dan Morrison, the Director of Residence Life. “Until this fall, we had at least one Freshman Experience traditional hall on east or west campus closed for renovation. Thus, in Fall 2014 we had 8,381 students in our entire on-campus housing.  Fall 2015 we have 8,350 in residency.  We show only a 31 student decline from last fall.  In addition, we will be resuming the renovation plan for traditional and suite halls and will be “down” beds each year in the future.”

The growing residential communities a short distance off campus may appear to directly influence students’ decisions on the place they want to live, but this is not necessarily true.

“Each year different factors drive students’ opinions and curiosity about living at a particular location around or on campus. I think it is really the shifting among the students as their interests change,” said Morrison.

The Campus Housing Office also recognizes that Tech students bring unique reasons and incentives for discontinuing their residence. Students who are getting involved in study abroad or co-op and who are responding to family request or different academic path are examples of commitment students make.

By record, Nelson-Shell receives the highest number of requests among other on-campus spots. North Avenue and some of the buildings on west campus are also popular due to their recent renovation.