Shifting spaces may reshape students’ social spheres on campus

Shifting spaces may reshape students’ social spheres on campus


Our dorms and apartments are the personalized headquarters from which we direct our lives – all vital activities start and end there (sleep, namely).

Living space is a crucial part of life, and if Saint Louis University desires to “educate the whole person,” then SLU should begin to regard students who move off-campus with more care.

Housing this year has resulted in some interesting numbers. Exactly 541 of 673 lottery spots had been filled for upperclassmen housing; there are nearly six times as many upperclassmen actually enrolled at SLU, and they need housing.

With a majority of upperclassmen leaving living off-campus next year, the social dynamic on campus will shift.

We can expect younger students to dominate attendance at campus events. There will be less interaction between upperclassmen and freshmen outside of class, and this stratification translates into divisions within Chartered Student Organizations. Students bond over common events, many of which are put on by CSOs.

Attendance at campus events is less appealing for students living in The Continental Life Building or The Drake – distance makes a difference.

If fewer upperclassmen attend events, fluidity between classes will grow more rigid, and divisions will grow.

Beyond even that, SLU has to realize how much we depend on the apartments surrounding campus to provide housing for students, and this relationship needs to be cultivated. We cannot dismiss is the now fundamental relationship SLU has with the surrounding apartment complexes.

Collaborating with Front Door and Red Brick, two large apartment rental companies in the area, can only benefit SLU.

Since there is an inevitability of students living off campus next year, SLU should build a partnership with the apartment companies. Promoting their availability will bring them advertising us a potential business opportunity.

We can also tell prospective students that housing can be taken care of for them, to some degree, by the school they might attend.

Social fluctuation has critical implications. We need to begin to understand the changing nature of campus life and the growing dependency SLU will have on surrounding apartments that are coming in the next few years in order to anticipate those implications and act upon them.