Will new on-campus housing increase community?
It creates more free time to engage
Opinion by Tommy Clift
Whether it be Student Life, The Global Education Office, or the Diversity and Inclusion Office, from an organization’s perspective, student engagement is one of the hardest challenges facing a commuter campus. And why wouldn’t it be? After a long succession of classes, very few want to stay late.
Of course, there is nothing wrong with commuting. It saves money for lots of in-state students who have a nearby home, but the incoming students from all over the world often face a different set of decisions: live in on-campus housing or commute from an apartment for a similar price. CU Denver is inimitable in its location, perched right on the edge of a booming city, with real industry job opportunities right next door, and living right where this uniqueness takes place makes all the difference in having a unique experience.
With 17 percent of students being nonresident and 7 percent international, there are thousands of students coming from around the country and world to make the most out of being in Denver for their education. There’s a lot of opportunities that can be capitalized on, but capitalizing takes time. Living on campus offers the finest solution: suddenly there are 10–20 hours a week that were originally committed to the commute that can now be used for engaging with real industry opportunities, sports and extracurricular clubs, or just meeting new people.
Opening up more housing isn’t just for nonresidents; it connects in-state students to the same opportunities. The increase of an on-campus presence will launch CU Denver into more of a perpetually on-going and diverse community, rather than a pool of students hurried to get on and off campus with solid parking and still avoid rush hour. Living on campus means skipping the stressful traffic, the overpriced parking, and replacing it with open time to engage with CU and Denver as a city every evening. At the heart of education and the power it brings to social progressivism are the connections made while surrounded by so many other eager minds. Nothing cultivates that value more than a community that sticks around.
It will only cause more disruption
Opinion by Gillian Russo
CU Denver is a commuter campus because of where it is strategically placed, right in the middle of the city. Despite the addition of a new dorm, CU Denver will likely remain a commuter campus before, during, and after the construction.
The addition of a new dorm will only be a further detriment to the already lacking sense of community surrounding the school because the new dorms are going to be built on the athletic fields. The loss of the athletic fields will further extinguish the school’s already minimal sports programs consisting of only seven sports. These programs are vital because they provide both a sense of school pride and association for both the spectators who attend and the athletes who participate.
As a commuter campus, being able to get around with minimal traffic is not just ideal, but extremely necessary. Because the dorm is being built in the middle of campus, navigation will be much more difficult—all the parking spots that are located near the athletic field will be closed off.
Additionally, the dorm will block the view from the Wellness Center, where students flock to study in part because of the large windows that allow students a lovely view from across campus.
Adding a new dorm will not make the cost of living on campus any cheaper. The majority of its students cannot afford to live on campus and do not want to plunge themselves thousands of dollars in debt in order to do so.
Campus Village is the least expensive room and board option for CU Denver students. The cost of living in Campus Village’s cheapest room, which is typically reserved for freshmen, is $3,300 per person each semester, and another $40 dollars a month for a food plan.
While there are no current updates about the new dorm building, there are other external factors that will not make the current living situation any better for students. The addition of a new dorm will hurt the CU Denver community more than it will help it grow stronger.