Should students live in the residence halls for 2 years? No.


By Alyssa Pracz

With the addition of a new residence hall currently being built, I wonder what will inspire NIU students to live in the residence halls after the mandatory one-year sentence is up? NIU could make it mandatory for students to live on campus for two years.

While living in the dorms has its benefits, I don’t think adding an extra year is necessary or something that students would be in favor of.

Not having to live in the dorms an extra year is not only the preference of the students, but parents as well. As posted on the NIU website, the cost of living in a double room (without ResNet) in either Lincoln Hall, Douglas Hall, Neptune Hall or Grant B Tower is $3,626. A double room in the newly renovated Grant C Tower or Stevenson Towers is $4,163. Both rates are for only one semester and don’t include meal plans. Along with that, every time you want to do laundry, you can only pay with Huskie Bucks in the dorms, so the constant need to keep money on that account is costly as well.

If you were to live in an apartment, for example, most come with access to a washer and dryer. Yes, you would have to pay bills, but some apartments use electric heating, so you wouldn’t see a gas bill.

Beyond utility bills, some students who don’t eat as much could probably save more money buying groceries than paying for a weekly meal plan . Also, the dining halls aren’t open all day; they have designated hours. While one of the biggest benefits of living in the dorms is that you always have a meal cooked for you whenever you want, oftentimes students get sick of eating the same old fried food every day. Living outside of the dorms allows students to cook for themselves and gives them more options to expand on meals. If you want to make a home-cooked meal or have your family come up and visit, you can do so instead of always eating a greasy cheeseburger or microwaving the Easy Mac in your room.

Students should not be forced to live in the dorms an extra year because you have more freedom outside of the residence halls. One of the things I personally liked once I moved out of the dorms was that I didn’t always need an NIU OneCard and a residence card just to get inside my room at night. For the dorms, it’s good because it’s a safety precaution, but it can be annoying having to check in every single time at night, especially if you forget to bring your residence hall card with you. It’s also nice not having to check in every single guest you have and your friends and family can come and go as much as you would like.

The extra freedom also allows you to stay healthier at times. Living in the dorms with many people and sharing a community bathroom, you’re more likely to get sick. In the article titled, “9 Health Hazards Hidden in College Dorms” by, the common cold or flu can be transferred through vapor droplets infecting objects touched such as a door knob, desk or basically anything in a public area. Being forced to live in the dorms an extra year isn’t appealing when thinking about how many people sit on the same toilet everyday or walk around coughing and spreading germs.

Once in your second year of college, most college students are mature enough to take care of themselves. Requiring it for one year isn’t bad, but more than that shouldn’t be mandatory.