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Students weigh living options

After leaving the dorms, students leverage cost and convenience.
Senior communications major Seth Zimmermann makes himself dinner on Tuesday at his house in Dinkytown.
Image by Bridget Bennett
Senior communications major Seth Zimmermann makes himself dinner on Tuesday at his house in Dinkytown.

When Jesse Ehrenreich was looking for a place to live, he walked around Marcy-Holmes and Dinkytown, touring open houses and calling any phone numbers he found.

Russell Barnes moved in with friends at Solhaus near the University of Minnesota campus after his freshman year at Middlebrook Hall.

And Jenny Doocy, who lived in Pioneer Hall as a freshman, decided to stay in campus housing with a Yudof Hall apartment.

When searching for housing, University students are met with a variety of options across campus and in surrounding areas.

The University offers some resources, like an annual housing fair, so students can talk to various property owners from around the area.

Ankita Sahu, a student neighborhood liaison, said the housing fair is “basically an education and resource for students to look into the different housing available.”

Ultimately, students still have to make the final choice about where they’ll live, with options ranging from residence halls and off-campus houses to brand-new apartments.

Ehrenreich, Barnes and Doocy shared their housing experiences and looked back on the search process that got them where they are.

University apartments

Doocy, an English sophomore, said Yudof Hall is an upgrade from Pioneer.

“It’s nice and modern,” she said.

In Yudof, Doocy has her own bathroom and can cook whatever she wants, she said.

Her apartment, which has two bedrooms, a bathroom and a kitchenette, costs nearly $800 per month, according to the HRL website.

Because she reapplied for University housing, Doocy was able to pick where she wanted to live.

“I heard a lot of good things about [Yudof] last year,” she said.

She said Pioneer Hall “wasn’t bad,” but she didn’t like getting up in the middle of the night and having to go down the hall to use the bathroom. In her search for a new home, Doocy said proximity to campus was very important.

She said the videos on the HRL’s website were helpful in seeing what the University apartments look like.

Luxury living

Living in a Solhaus apartment feels less “restricted” than in University housing, journalism and psychology sophomore Barnes said.

After his freshman year in Middlebrook, he said, he “wanted to start a new chapter in [his] life.”

He now lives in a two-bedroom apartment with three other people and pays $445 per month, which includes everything but electricity. Barnes shares a room in order to lower his rent.

Barnes’ apartment search was pretty easy, he said, because a friend asked him if he was interested in joining him in Solhaus.

But living in an apartment comes with added responsibilities that he and his roommates weren’t ready for, he said.

Living independently meant buying “traditional” items, like cups and plates, necessary for a functioning apartment.

And living with three other people can get messy.

“Things can get really cluttered,” Barnes said.

Because space is an issue, Barnes said, he and his roommates are considering getting a house next year.

Independent in a house

Anthropology junior  Ehrenreich said living in Yudof Hall with four people last year didn’t work for him.

He wanted somewhere that had more square footage, and this year he lives with seven other people in a house in Dinkytown.

Ehrenreich said he pays just more than $500 a month for rent and utilities.

Finding a house in Dinkytown that was affordable and not “run-down” was hard, Ehrenreich said.

Even when he found the house where he currently resides, he said there was still work that needed to be done.

“It was upsetting that stuff needed to be fixed up,” he said.

Ehrenriech said he enjoys his house, but it does mean more independence and is more work than an apartment.

“If you’re going to do it,” he said, “know what you’re getting into.”

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