The percentage of commuting undergraduates has declined, according to the Student Interest Survey, from 55.2 percent in 1986 to 41.9 percent in 2001. We hope both the University and community will accept and promote this promising trend, especially in light of recent efforts by St. Paul and Minneapolis to limit the amount of student housing in their neighborhoods.
We are pleased that fewer undergraduates are commuting and would like graduate students to follow suit.
Living on or near campus amplifies community spirit, involvement, sustainable development and many other innumerable positives. Of course, concerns over an increase in near-campus student living are neither absent nor fictional. However, while more students living near campus might increase neighborhood density and noise, the benefits of less pollution, efficient transportation – such as walking or bicycling – and community development outweigh these costs.
More graduate students living near campus would increase these positive effects.
According to the survey, more than 70 percent of graduate students live more than 4 miles from campus and more than 60 percent are over 10 miles away – commuting by bus or car.
With an upswing of mature graduate students living near campus, the community would receive an excellent dose of both retail- and residential-area diversity. The longer-term concerns of graduate students would also produce a friendlier relationship between University students and the surrounding neighborhoods.