Students weigh pros and cons of off-campus housing

Amy Reinhardt

Many students begin their journey at Washburn by adapting to the on-campus housing, but many are now making the choice to pursue other off-campus residential options.

At Washburn University there are several residential options including the dorm-setting Living Learning Center, Kuehne and West Halls and the Washburn Village on-campus apartment complex.

Students who live on campus receive a meal plan for the Union Market and Bod bucks to use for purchase in the Corner Store, Ichabod Shop and campus vending machines.

Many transfer students elect to live in the Washburn Village because of their upperclassmen status and desire for an apartment-based atmosphere.

Joe McSorley, junior criminal justice major, transferred to Washburn University from Kansas City Kansas Community College.

“I wanted to live on campus to meet new people because it was my first year,” McSorley said. “It’s also been convenient to live here because everything is within walking distance.”

New freshmen occupy the residence halls because of the opportunity to live in close quarters and become acquainted with other students.

Zach Powers, freshman theatre major, chose to live in the Living Learning Center because it costs him less than commuting to and from Topeka daily.

“I live about 40 minutes away and I didn’t entirely want to deal with getting gas every couple of days,” Powers said. “Plus everything I need is pretty close to me; I don’t have to walk too far to get to my classes or to get food.”

Like Powers, Malorie Lierz, sophomore nursing major, and Taylor Metzger, sophomore physical therapy assistant major, lived together in the Living Learning Center their freshman year.

While they enjoyed their time in the dorms, Metzger made the decision to move off-campus the following year and Lierz followed suit. The two researched various living options, but only visited one complex.

It was College Hill’s proximity to campus; pricing and quality amenities that led Lierz and Metzger to sign the lease.

“All the benefits we’re getting are worth what we’re paying to live here,” Lierz said.

Aside from College Hill, there are several apartment complexes that Washburn students looking to make the switch check out. Washburn Place, 1900 SW Washburn Ave., and Washburn North, 1516 SW 17th St., are each located across the street from campus.

In his time at Washburn, Alex Laughlin, junior theatre major, lived in Southbrook, 5201 SW 34th St., and recently moved to Whispering Pines, 5820 SW Candletree Drive.

“The good side of off-campus housing is having more private space instead of all these people living around you,” Laughlin said.

One downside about the transition to off-campus housing is the student’s decrease in campus participation. Off-campus students exert a greater effort to stay involved.

“Living off-campus you really don’t hear about or see the events that are going on,” Metzger said. “You also don’t see and meet as many people as you would if you were living on-campus.”

While off-campus housing seems to have good benefits, the choice of where to live varies from student to student.

“I think it depends on their personal preference. If you know how to cook, take care of yourself, make money and pay your bills then you should live off-campus,” Lierz said.

The residential halls are beneficial and appealing to the younger student population, but most students 20 and older are ready to save money by making the switch to off-campus housing.

“You definitely become more independent when living off-campus; you have to worry about paying utility bills and rent,” Laughlin said. “But being independent is a good thing and I think more students need to experience that independence.”