Between the establishment of the North End Housing Complex (colloquially known by students as “New Gartland”) and the pre-existing Fulton Street townhouses, living on-campus as an upperclassman is more lavish, accessible, and commonplace than ever.
“I definitely have seen a shift in a lot more students being more excited [to stay on-campus as upperclassmen],” says Joseph Guardino, Marist’s Assistant Director of Housing and Residential Life. “Our focus with the new residence areas…was that we wanted to provide housing that was newer and closer to the heart of campus for our upperclassmen, because we did want them to stay on-campus in nicer, new housing.”
The debate regarding if on or off campus living is better for upperclassmen has been a hot button issue for quite some time now. When asked, students tend to have an automatic response to the question.
“Personally, I have no desire at all to move off-campus,” says sophomore Patrick Wrynn. “I love being right on-campus and being surrounded by everything that is happening.”
Since housing is not guaranteed for upperclassmen, there are several factors that play into whether students choose to stay in Marist housing, or decide to live elsewhere. However, the push for more students to remain on-campus for their four years is demonstrated through the construction of four new buildings primarily designated for upperclassmen as part of the North End Housing Complex. Building D, the last of the complex to be undergoing construction, will contain a new cafeteria and gym.
Kim Woodward, a senior who lives in the North End Housing Complex’s Building A has academic reasons for wanting to stay on-campus. “I’m a history major, so I spend a lot of time in Fontaine,” she explains. “It’s easier for me to live on-campus.”
Safety and availability of resources can also factor into a student’s decision to remain on-campus their junior and senior years.
“Some of the benefits…are the resources that are provided by the campus, such as safety and security, programming that our RA staff puts on, and more,” Guardino says.
Junior Caroline Carrano, a resident of the complex’s Building B, agrees. “It’s safe, and all of my friends were living on-campus. It made the most sense.”
Despite the obvious push for more students to stay as on-campus residents longer, which has been buoyed by the creation of the complex, there are still students opting to live off-campus during their upperclassmen years at Marist.
Guardino is aware of this.
“They want to be independent,” he says. “Those students are always going to look to move off-campus. Also, renting a house with six people, or even four people, can be cheaper than living on-campus, so there is always that financial component that you have to take into account.”
Alexis Broadnax, a sophomore who lives in the North End Housing Complex, is already planning on moving off-campus next year.
“I was a FFE [Freshman Florence Experience] student, so this is my first year living on-campus,” she says. “For me personally, I am going to live off-campus because I like having that independence, but it [the North End Housing Complex] is amazing housing.”
Senior Anna Marotta, who lives off-campus, agrees. “Living off-campus has helped me grow tremendously, because it forces you to be accountable for all the responsibilities of having a home in addition to everyday student life,” she says.
Marotta also enjoys being independent from Marist because she feels it allows her to explore the local area more. “You get be part of the community in ways you never anticipated,” she says. “Since I’ve moved off-campus, I’ve realized how awesome it is to interact and see what the Hudson Valley has to offer. For me, living off-campus means I’m closer to new restaurants, shopping, and attractions that I wouldn’t have sought out before.”
The convenience of living on-campus is the only aspect of living in an off-campus home Marotta cites as a possible cause of concern. “My least favorite part about living off-campus is that it does lessen the “convenience” factor for students,” she says. “It is manageable, but living off-campus requires more work to get to classes like driving and parking, to plan meals, and to be accountable for not being on-campus 24/7.”
The importance of the “convenience factor” is not lost on Wrynn. “I don’t have a car [on-campus], so it would be very hard for me to commute back and forth, so living on-campus is my preferred living style,” he says.
One thing is indisputable; the complex has definitely re-invigorated the conversation regarding on versus off campus living.
“I would definitely say there’s buzz about the new housing complex,” says Guardino.