Living on-campus is great for students. It allows easy access to classrooms, dining halls, faculty members and a lot of other resources. But next year it’s going to be harder to find a dorm, especially for upperclassmen. The South Dakota Board of Regents (SDBOR) requires that students need to live and dine on campus for the first two years of college after high school graduation. There are some exemptions, but most first and second-year students stay in USD’s dorms.
With Brookman and Julian recently demolished and a higher enrollment, it is going to be hard for students to find a place to live on campus. Because freshmen and sophomores are most likely going to be prioritized because of the SDBOR’s requirements, upperclassmen are going to be forced to find a place to live off campus.
Finding an apartment or a house to rent can add a lot of stress to a person’s life. You need to find a place within your price range, tour the building, go over contracts and learn how to budget for apartment living are all new and confusing things. Adding this on top of finishing classes and preparing for next semester creates a lot of unnecessary strain. For some people apartment life is better, it grants more freedom. But people who planned on living on campus next year but were told it wasn’t possible are going to have a lot to do when looking for somewhere to live.
Living on-campus is one of the best things a student can do. It gives people the opportunity to learn what living away from home is like without dealing with monthly payments for rent, electricity and water. On-campus, residences provide easy access to classrooms, faculty and offices, dining halls and other facilities. There are more opportunities and access to campus activities and clubs which adds to the sense of community.
The limited amount of dorms is creating a lot of stress for new and current students. The university could admit less incoming students or could have remodeled Brookman. There simply just aren’t enough open residence halls to accommodate the growing enrollment rate. Students are being left behind to figure it out for themselves.
As students, we are sometimes left in the dark on the university’s plans regarding housing. Will there ever be another dorm constructed to house students? Or will we be left with Coyote Village, North Complex, Burgess/Norton, McFadden and a big parking lot? All we know is that if the enrollment numbers remain this high, USD will be forced to find additional housing options in order to keep retention rates high.