New school year brings new residences for many students

Elizabeth Cook

With August comes the annual migration of the largest group of nomads this side of the Atlantic: students.

Instead of resigning the leases on their dorm rooms, apartments and houses, many students seem to be packing up and moving every year.

Mannix Clark, associate director of housing, said about 25 percent to 35 percent of students stay more than one year in a residence hall, but it’s not really encouraged. The empty beds are needed to fulfill the “freshman guarantee” housing gives.

Some reasons students cited for leaving include wanting independence and wanting to live with friends, Clark said.

Michael Wilde, the director for student services and marketing at Melrose Student Suites, said most students start at the residence halls, then go to staffed apartments and then to houses and apartments in Dinkytown, each time getting more and more independent.

At The Melrose Apartments, 15 percent of student-residents end up staying for more than one year, Wilde said.

Over the weekend, some students already were starting to move out of their suites because of an Aug. 11 move-out date.

Wilde said students need to move earlier in August because the move-in date is Aug. 25, and this time is needed for management to get the suites ready for the next students.

One of the benefits of re-signing the lease, Wilde said, is that a student won’t have a two-week period of needing somewhere to live before the common first of the month move-in date in other apartments.

Students who resign the lease pay the same amount for August rent as those moving out early.

Meghan Fergason, a pre-nursing junior, was busy moving her belongings out on Sunday afternoon.

She said she started her college experience living in Pioneer Hall, but because of the absence of air conditioning, carpeting and elevators and the lack of space to live in, she left after one year.

“I shared a room that was the size of a closet,” she said,

For her sophomore year, Fergason decided spur of the moment to move to Melrose, but said she soon realized it wasn’t as great as it looked.

“Everything here looks nice, but it’s crap,” she said.

Her roommate, journalism junior Sara Wedding, said they’ve had problems with the toilet cracking and exploding, the garbage disposal breaking, the washing machine tearing small holes in their clothes and constant noise complaints from neighbors for only watching television.

Regardless of the complaints, the two agreed they enjoyed their stay, had some fun times and it seems like a natural step before moving into a house in Dinkytown.

Vanessa Szpara, a public relations junior, also lived in The Melrose and said she loved everything about it, with the exception of noise complaints for listening to quiet music on a computer.

“It was fine here,” she said. “I liked it; I just need to have my own place.”

Szpara also started out living in a residence hall – Territorial – but moved out wanting independence. It’s the same reason she was packing the last of her belongings Sunday and getting ready to move out to a place in Dinkytown.

She said she might move again in another year when her roommates graduate, and possibly back to an apartment.

John Lutz was walking into his current residence at Mark G. Yudof Hall, but was preparing to move into a house off-campus near East River Road.

The mechanical engineering graduate student said he lived in residence halls for all of his undergraduate work because he liked the convenience and experience of being on campus, but now that he graduated it’s time to have his own house.

“Got to make the move off campus sometime,” he said.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, Ernie Johnson, an area landlord of seven years, said students almost always move out after a year but he’s not sure why.

He said when most students move out, they leave the house in “moderately” good shape.

Tyler Jachim, a political science and cultural science senior is getting ready to resign the lease on his Northeast apartment, something he’s never done through his entire college career.

Jachim started off in Sanford Hall without putting any thought into it, aside from accepting that it’s what most students do their first year.

His sophomore year he went to live in an apartment on 15th Avenue Southeast, but left after one year due to its small size and having to share a bedroom.

Next he went to another apartment across Interstate 35W, which turned out to be his worst.

He referred to it as a “ragtag house” with poor maintenance, bugs and rodents where at one point the ceiling above the shower collapsed.

He blames this type of landlord behavior, and students moving around a lot, on the number of students that are willing to move into these types of homes and apartments.

“I think there’s so many students, there’s no standards,” he said.