Housing stress increases with enrollment
Published: Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, October 23, 2012 00:10
We’ve lived in the dorms, and we’ve lived off campus — with and without roommates. We’ve definitely experienced the battle that ensues when trying to find housing in this town. So, when Oregon State University President Ed Ray introduced the thought of upping student enrollment to 28,000 by 2025, some questions pertaining to housing were raised.
We are well aware of the plans to construct a new dorm next to McNary, Wilson and Callahan, and Ray seems pretty confident in OSU’s abilities to keep up with the housing demand. We fully recognize the benefits of living on campus; it helps the university stay connected with its usually fresh-out-of-high-school students, and living fees help pay Oregon State’s bills. However, as reported by the U.S. News’ Education webpage, 79 percent of OSU students live off campus.
So, what about off-campus housing? We understand how on-campus living is important to the first-year experience and to the university, but off-campus students shouldn’t be forgotten. Between coming up with a deposit and first month’s rent, finding someone to co-sign and dealing with some not-so-dependable roommates, actually moving in is hard enough as it is without considering the battle in searching for a place. We’re worried this increase of enrollment will add to the stresses of off-campus housing.
We do realize there is a ballot — Measure 02-80 — that’s requesting the go ahead to build a housing development geared towards students. Though there are plenty of people in favor of the ballot, there is still that local-resident, Corvallis voice opposed to this development, calling it a “mega-dorm.”
So, then, what about the long-term Corvallis residents (typically those who are not students) who have had a lengthy history of fighting growth in Corvallis? Understandably, they like their small town without Wal-Mart, late-night parties and excessive noise and vehicles. Let’s face it, an increase of student enrollment increases the need for on- and off-campus housing, which in turn creates a need from the local community. Bike lanes, sidewalks, street signs and parking lots are all valid concerns when considering the expansion of a university’s population to its hometown. Plus, a good portion of these long-term Corvallis residents have the safety of their children to worry about.
There are definitely some great things happening with Oregon State University — financial stability despite the declines in state funding and federal research funding, employment growth, online enrollment growth and the prospect of a four-year program through the OSU-Cascades branch. We don’t doubt President Ray’s abilities to accomplish the goals for this university outlined in last week’s speech. We are simply cautious of the estimated expansion. We worry students living off campus will struggle more when searching for a place to live, and the long-term Corvallis residents will be trampled when the goal of 28,000 students comes to fruition.
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