High-Rise Hell

Kaylee Anderson

Any student who has spent time wandering around campus and its periphery has seen them — the cold, lifeless buildings that seem to rise from the dirt in a span of weeks, towering over the local cityscape.

These mass-produced apartment buildings mask themselves under different names but house the same cookie-cutter furniture and amenities and use granite countertops to distract from lack of durability and Ikea-grade furniture.

With Big 10, Espresso Expose, Village Wok and a host of other Stadium Village businesses ousted for the purpose of erecting yet another high-rise, many residents are wondering why so many of these companies are eating up the community — and local businesses — around campus.

As it turns out, it’s relatively easy for these developers to draw in students who are eager to move away from dorm life. When my roommates and I began apartment-hunting freshman year, the only options that seemed viable to us were these luxury apartments. They were numerous, well-advertised and the closest to campus.

We leased an apartment in one of these monstrosities and it ended up regretfully. While technically cheaper than living in the dorms, my roommates and I had to share rooms to cut costs, and the building owners continually overcharged us for repairs and services. When it came time to renew our lease, the decision was unanimous — we had to leave or risk having our souls sucked away entirely.

One of the biggest problems these pop-up apartments pose is the fact that so many of them are close to campus — an area filled with young, naïve, inexperienced renters. Many students are lured into signing leases because of the promise of swimming pools and gyms, but few realize the financial implications of intricately worded leases.

The only way to find cheaper housing is to move further from campus which lengthens commutes and leaves students dependent on public transit.

It would be beneficial to see the University help curb the trend of large, luxury developers taking over commercial spaces near campus. Many college students aren’t financially well off so having affordable housing would ensure that they live near campus.

In addition, the University could better promote the resources it provides for new renters — such as legal services. In tandem, it’s important that these legal advocates provide students with the foresight to make educated decisions when choosing housing.

Actively educating students about their housing options could help limit the influence of corporations in areas near campus, allowing for more affordable housing and for the preservation of small businesses.

Housing is such an important part of student health — it should be a top priority for the University to champion affordable, accessible and amenable housing for all of its students.

Hopefully, with more proactive assistance from the University, we will be able to keep the campus a unique, diverse and financially feasible place to live.