EDITORIAL: Off-campus housing could be its own worst enemy

Illustration by Lily Stanicek / lily.stanicek@marquette.edu
Illustration by Lily Stanicek / lily.stanicek@marquette.edu

Finding housing on a city campus is not an enjoyable process. As most freshmen learned from experience on Monday night, it doesn’t help when timing is everything while vying for the same choices and spaces.

All students scramble for a place to live at one point or another, bringing on a lot of unnecessary stress. While there are efforts to ease this stress from the Office of University Apartments and Off-Campus Student Services and sort of by a recent Marquette Student Government executive order, the various possibilities for off-campus housing are not made any easier with the continued addition of newer and supposedly better options.

Picking out the best apartment and picking out the right apartment for you are not necessarily the same thing, and the dramatic variation in housing prices and accommodations can make the decision overly complicated.

The Ivy on 14th and the Marq (formerly known as the 2040 Lofts) are luxury apartments just off-campus boasting new remodels, updated kitchens and fitness centers. All things typically broke college students don’t really need.

Convenience is always an important factor but practicality should also be considered by students who are likely making the decision on their own or with friends. It is easy to be swayed by what other people want or what certain landlords want you to think you want by offering certain amenities.

Students should continue to utilize the many diverse housing options near campus and not just go for whatever is the newest and brightest building on the block. While for some people it may be affordable, choosing to live in luxury spaces while in college may not be the best investment for new renters. College is a good time for us students to become more financially literate and being thoughtful of how money is spent, and this starts with considering smart options and the possible ramifications.

City living will always come at some cost, yet choosing luxury apartments also has a ripple effect on other viable apartments on campus. As the former tend to draw in higher rents, other apartments may increase their rent because their competition also charges more. There may also be more vacant spaces in the more typical apartments, forcing management to increase rent to maintain operating costs. Because of these laws of supply and demand, all students can be affected.

Two years in a pricy apartment may not crush you financially, but it has a lasting effect on Marquette and future renters. With undergraduate students still trying to figure out how to live based on their own decisions, more reasonable options should be emphasized and considered.

While your parents or your bank account could be the only things influencing what apartment you choose, it is important to keep in mind how campus continues to change and evolve into a more expensive and over-developed place to live. Part of Marquette’s and Milwaukee’s charms can be found in the older buildings and the atmosphere this creates.

Granite countertops might make you feel more like an adult, but students moving off-campus would be better off utilizing more practical options and forgoing the temptation of high-end living. As the university emphasizes working within the Avenues West neighborhood, managing the cost of living is also in its interest and could be an additional way to engage in a wider conversation.

Living off-campus is a great experience, and hopefully it will remain that way for future students. It might just take some management of expectations to make sure that is a possibility.