The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


Leaving the dorms may not be an option

Officials consider requiring sophomores to live on campus

Residence halls close May 7, and with that deadline quicklyapproaching many SMU students are trying to decide where to livenext year.

Many first-years are looking forward to moving off campus andgetting an apartment of their own, but soon this may not be anoption.

Last semester, a committee was formed to examine the option ofrequiring future sophomores to live in on-campus housing, much likebenchmark schools such as Vanderbilt University in Nashville,Tenn., and Emory University in Atlanta, Ga.

“The group concluded that it would be possible to add somemore space for upper class students,” director of ResidenceLife and Student Housing Doug Hallenbeck said.

The student population on the Hilltop apparently has mixedfeelings about this possibility.

“Living in the dorms is a great way to meet people,”said sophomore Lexie Timpson, “but I never want to do itagain.”

Timpson moved to an off campus apartment, citing the high costof both room and meal plans as well as the low number of suitebaths as reasons why moving out is better.

According to several focus groups the committee ran, thefeelings ran along these same lines.

“The response we got from the groups was that studentsliked the convenience of living on campus, but for their secondyear, they wanted more ‘luxuries’; private baths, morepersonal space, basically more apartment-like living,”Hallenbeck said.

“But our basic goal was answering the questions of how tomake a tighter-knit community, cut down on commuting to campus andbenefit incoming students.”

But according to Hallenbeck, many things have to fall into placefor any sort of change in policy to take place, such as whereanother residency could go on an already-crowded campus.

Because of this and other such issues, the next class of SMUstudents to be affected by these changes would be students who willgraduate high school in 2009.

Next year an SMU student will pay anywhere from $4,625 for anon-renovated double occupancy room, like Shuttles or Mary Hay to$7,025 for a single in Virginia-Snider or Morrison-McGinnis.

Upperclassmen have the option of living in Moore, a doubleoccupancy apartment style hall, for $5,530.

These prices are almost double what students pay at Vanderbilt.The cost of a dorm room there is $3,094, freshmen are required tobe in a double occupancy, but upperclassmen have a choice ofhalls.

According to their web site, 83% of all students live on campusand there is a guarantee that there will be a room available forall four years.

The same is true for Emory, a double room costs a mere $2,927and the most expensive room runs at $3,131 for a single.

“By the end of the first year most people have adapted togoing to class and college life,” first-year Morrisonresident Tabatha Hines said.

“I don’t think it is necessary to require[sophomores] to live on campus, an apartment is cheaper and youdon’t have to share a bathroom,” Hines said.

On top of the price for the room, students are required topurchase a meal plan, which further increases the cost of on-campusliving.

SMU’s meal plan runs around the same amount as Vanderbiltand Emory, though it is still the most expensive, with each costing$1,800, $1,695 and $1,770 respectively.

Where the plans differ is in the variety offered.

Currently SMU students have the choice of Umphrey Lee andMac’s Place to use meal plans.

Vanderbilt has six locations where meal plans are valid, rangingfrom traditional dining to a coffeehouse.

Many Mustangs are very happy living on campus. First yearShuttles resident Herrick Griffin is looking forward to living oncampus again next year.

“I’ll have the rest of my life to live off campus, Idon’t want to be cut off from anything [on campus] justyet,” Griffin said. “[Shuttles] is old, but the peoplemade it worth living in, it’s nice having friends down thehall.”

Another option that students are pleased with is the on-campusapartments.

Rent for an apartment runs anywhere from $500 a month for anefficiency, to $1,170 a month for the two bedroom Colonials.

There is no meal plan requirement for the apartments, but withminimum costs for utilities, most students pay a total of$4500-$5500 in rent, and then have to pay for meals.

Currently, the SMU Apartments and rooms in Moore Hall offer thistype of apartment living, and getting to live in these residenciesall depend on the luck of the draw.

The apartments are leased to students through a lottery system.Students have to pick and number that will determine theirplacement on the waiting list.

“I picked a bad number, so I’m probably going tohave to move off campus due to the lottery,” Hines said.”Moving off campus is cheaper.”

Ryan Trimble contributed to this report.

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