Recently, there has been talk about Cal Poly’s new housing plan that might make it mandatory for all freshman and sophomores to live on campus. The project, which will expand PCV and build new facilities on the Grand Avenue parking lot, is scheduled to be finished by the 2018-2019 school year.
According to Cal Poly President Jeffery D. Armstrong in an article released by Cal Poly, “Our students’ success is our primary goal, and this planned residence hall is another step in helping ensure we meet that goal. Providing more university housing for our students is a high priority. Research has repeatedly shown that students who live on campus are more engaged, perform better academically and are more likely to stay enrolled and graduate on time.’’
While President Armstrong is correct in stating that student success is Cal Poly’s primary goal, some students might feel as though some of their freedom is being taken away if they are required to live on campus for two years.
It makes sense that all first years at Cal Poly are required to live on campus. Most freshman are just newly adults and this is their first time away from their parents and childhood home for an extended period of time. Every first year must pay for on-campus housing as well as a mandatory meal plan. This allows for the transition from home to college—where students now have to do everything themselves— to be much easier.
However, freedom on-campus is limited, which is why many students opt to live off-campus after their first year. Most students are in agreement that campus food is not ideal, therefore they might look forward to having their own kitchen to make meals for themselves. Some students don’t want to deal with the supervision of RA’s who might reprimand students for misbehavior. Also, students might just want some alone time to study or relax, which the dorms cannot really provide. If living off-campus was not an option after the first year, students might feel too restricted at Cal Poly.
“Honestly, I’m not sure if I would have been as excited to come to Cal Poly, had on-campus housing been a mandatory two year requirement for me,” says first year child development major, Lauren Walter. “I just feel like it’s restrictive and wouldn’t allow me to really experience living on my own, as a sophomore. It would be disappointing because that’s something I’ve been looking forward to.”
There is definitely a need for more on campus housing for freshman only. In a statement released on the Cal Poly website, “Cal Poly currently has slightly more than 6,900 beds on campus. A recent market-demand study strongly suggested that there is student demand for about 10,300 beds in university housing.” Clearly, there is a need for a project that involves building more facilities, but perhaps it would be better if this project was to try to fill this 3,400 bed gap for freshman on-campus rather than try to accommodate all freshman, plus the sophomores in this plan.
It is possible that the discussion to house all underclassmen on campus is an attempt to curb party culture. Several incidents have occurred in the last school year alone that have perhaps culminated in the idea that housing more students on campus is a possible solution. The disaffiliation of Pi Kappa Alpha (Pike), as well as Delta Sigma Phi (DSP) from campus, and the St. Fratty’s Day roof collapse can all suggest that the party culture might be seen as getting out of hand. With roughly half of all students living on-campus, there would be fewer parties because fewer students would be able to host them.
Regardless of the reasoning behind this discussion of building more on-campus housing, it is a major consideration of the administration and mandatory sophomore housing is still on the table. Although whatever they decide will not affect current Cal Poly students, it is something to think about for future students and the future of this campus, even though it remains difficult to determine what will be best.