Living on campus: why more people don’t

Brendan Descamps, Contributor

Recently, there has been talk about the Department of Residence Life facing a bit of a “resident shortage” ­— meaning that there are simply fewer people living on campus than in previous years. One common critique I have heard from students is that housing is simply too expensive. Between housing and a meal plan, many students struggle to afford living on campus. Despite being expensive, the majority of residential spaces are of acceptable quality and can even be quite nice to live in. Many of these spaces offer private bathrooms, living rooms and kitchens. Aside from the expenses, I have noticed two other issues that could be causes of the “resident shortage.” These issues are Augsburg’s sub-par dining services and the lack of a weekend culture.
For many, Augsburg’s dining services, specifically at the Commons, are sub-par at best. From personal experience, I have found a piece of plastic in a bite of chicken, hard and unchewable chunks in beef/chicken patties, under/overcooked noodles, stale cereal/desserts and more. For approximately $5000 a year, I do not find this cuisine to be worth the cost. To make matters worse, all residents except for those in Luther Hall are required to have a meal plan.
However, it does make sense for Urness and Mortensen residents to have a meal plan.
Furthermore, Augsburg’s dining services on the weekends are either sub-par or completely unavailable. The Commons keeps its hours mostly intact, except having brunch instead of breakfast. The food quality seems to diminish, however. It often feels as though the weekend meals are a recycled hodgepodge of what was served during the week.
On Saturdays, Einstein’s and Nabo’s hours are shortened by a few hours. On Sundays, however, the bagel shop and small diner are completely closed all day. So if you had plans to do homework and drink coffee in the fishbowl or anywhere else on campus, BYOC. Also, if residents want an alternative to the sub-par cafeteria food on the weekends, Nabo would be a great alternative if it weren’t for its very limited hours.
I believe that Augsburg also lacks a weekend culture. By this I mean that weekends on campus are uneventful and often desolate. Weekends on campus can be so lowkey that if it weren’t for the roar of highway traffic, I could mistake Augsburg for a post-apocalyptic wasteland. The sub-par food services could be a reason for the lack of weekend culture as no one wants to eat on campus. I also believe that the lack of weekend activity is a result of closed public spaces such as the student lounge in Christensen Center. The hours in which the lounge is staffed by students are currently Mon.–Fri. 6–10 p.m., Sat. 7:30–11 p.m., Sun. 5–9 p.m. During the week, it is lively and frequently used all day long. If the lounge hours were expanded on weekends, even if there were no student staff working, I think that residents would take advantage of the opportunity to gather and use the space.
Overall, I think that living on campus can be a worthwhile experience. However, some things could change in order to further enrich that experience for residents.

This article first appeared in the Friday, February 2, 2018, Edition of The Echo.