Opinion: Living On Campus Should Not Be Required

One of the main ways that Dickinson has maintained a close-knit environment is through mandating that students live on campus for all four years. This requirement is understandable to impose on freshmen, who otherwise would likely not have access to off-campus apartments. As a freshman, dorm-style living helps with the acclimation to college life by living with their peers and having a Residential Advisor who can offer guidance. For upperclassmen, this requirement is nonsensical. 

A handful of upperclassmen opt to live in apartment-style housing offered by Dickinson with an annual cost of $9,170 for non-single rooms. Students would likely pay the same for off-campus housing. However, in off-campus housing, students usually split the price of rent with their roommate(s), a choice that is unavailable with on-campus housing. Even in double, triple or quad style apartments, each student pays the listed amount, making living on campus more expensive than living off-campus. 

Mandatory housing can also create a burden on the students of Dickinson. The lottery that assigns students their housing placements leads to a lack of choice for many. This can cause students to end up in housing by default and not of their choice. Allowing students to live off-campus gives them more possibilities and they can subsequently decide based on their needs and wants. 

A few years ago, due to High Street Residence Hall not yet being available for students, there was not enough on-campus housing for Dickinsonians. To solve this issue, the school allowed around 10 to 15 percent of the senior class to live off campus until the new dorm was open. If Dickinson pivoted to allow off-campus housing in the past, changing the required on-campus housing now would not cause any serious harm to student life.