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Campus Living Series: Off-campus tradeoffs

Students living off-campus can rent houses or apartment building units. (Matt Johnson/Connector)

Veronica Cashman
Connector Contributor

Despite the variety of different-styled residence halls UMass Lowell has to offer, residing in an off-campus apartment is a leading alternative to on-campus options.

Completely disassociated with university ownership, apartments are becoming a popular option for many students, mainly upperclassman, looking to save money and gain independence by moving off campus. Students residing off campus are no longer required to pay for neither a meal plan nor a parking pass, which many students have found to be beneficial, like Gabriella Pucciarelli. A senior at UMass Lowell, Pucciarelli says she has saved over $10,000 since moving into her apartment off of South Campus.

Pucciarelli and her roommate signed a yearlong lease at the beginning of July guaranteeing them a two-bedroom unit in an apartment complex furnished with a full kitchen and bathroom that also includes a common laundry unit for all residents.

“At first, buying all the furniture can rack up a little bit of money, but no matter what, it is still cheaper than the prices of the dorms at UMass Lowell,” says Pucciarelli. “Between that and not having to pay for a meal plan that I rarely used, it is much easier because I can get up and walk across the street without having to save an extra 30 to 40 minutes for a bus ride.”

The cost of living in one of the university’s residence halls can average to an overwhelming $12,000 per year, however they do provide several security sources, such as nighttime security guards in each dormitory and sporadic blue light emergency phones throughout campus that some believe are worth the price in exchange for their safety.

Despite living near the university’s police station for two years, senior Nicole Carroll says her sense of security has definitely changed since moving off campus. Carroll said, “I loved the safety I was provided with living on campus… Last year both my car and apartment got broken into, something I never really had to worry about living on campus, but this year, I moved into a building with 11 different units and have experienced no problems.”

Depending on where students choose to live, many apartments even offer multiple units within them, which can help assist students to feel more comfortable as they adapt to living off campus with their friends.

Senior Calvin Karski says he always takes precaution, especially at night, by always keeping his doors and windows locked. He also feels a lot safer due to his apartment being located on the second floor of his building. However, Karski says that these obstacles have also contributed to his adaptation of responsibility, which comes with the independence of living in your own apartment.

“It’s nice to have your own space away from everyone else whereas you would have to share a room with someone in the dorms,” Karski says. “You have more freedom with how you want to set up your living space and it is not always dictated by others.”
Both Karski and Carroll agree that their sense of freedom is one of the most beneficial parts about being able to live conveniently in an apartment, and of course the absence of resident advisors.

Carroll says she has gained much more freedom and responsibility by living off campus. “I have gotten to live with some of my best friends in the whole world and dance to music with the volume real loud without any complaints,” she says. “It has been both a fun and rewarding experience to live in an off campus apartment.”

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