Hundreds of MU Freshmen Living Off-Campus
COLUMBIA - MU officials say the University is getting crowded this year. With 32,009 students, the highest attendance rate in school history and a 10 percent increase from last year, more students means dorms are full and hundreds of new freshmen have to live off-campus. Now, about 700 students live in University-sponsored off-campus housing.
236 students, most of them not freshmen, live in the suite-style single rooms called "Mizzou Quads" off Old Hwy. 63. This summer, MU acquired Prunty Hall on the Stephens College campus to hold 108 students as well as a house on University Ave. where 27 students live. MU Residential Life also changed the name of the old Campus View apartments to "Tiger Diggs" to hold 336 students off-campus, most of whom are freshmen. The location is not far from campus, but it is away from the normal busyness you find outside a standard on-campus dorm.
Steven Meglio lives in a "Tiger Diggs" suite with two friends from high school and a third roommate he just met last week. Meglio said he's always wanted to attend MU, but living off-campus freshman year wasn't in his original plan.
"I applied for housing on-time, but my two friends applied for housing late so they got stuck in Tiger Diggs," Meglio said. "But then they asked if I wanted to come with them."
Meglio decided to go ahead and move-in with his roommates even though it would require him to live off-campus. However, his parents weren't happy at first with this decision.
"My mom did not want me to live off-campus at all," Meglio said. "She was kinda mad about it, but she said it was up to my opinion."
Meglio said he is happy with his living arrangements so far, but has several concerns including getting to class on time. He said his main concern is he won't make as many friends off-campus even though he lives around students his age.
"All my friends have been meeting like a bunch of new people just by hanging around in their dorm rooms and stuff," Meglio said.
But he said so far, this hasn't happened much at his off-campus residence since students don't constantly leave their doors open like they do in residence halls. He said he's had to meet on-campus students through friends from home.
Becky Langhorst is one of those people. She met Meglio through a mutual friend and lives at Schurz Hall on the MU campus. She said although it's fun to get off-campus and hang out with Meglio and his roommates, freshmen have a better experience on campus.
"I think I'd still recommend living in the dorms, at least your freshman year, just because you're kind of forced to meet people."
MU Residential Life director Frankie Minor said off-campus freshmen aren't missing out on college life, but simply have a different experience. He said the University is trying to make off-campus housing as accommodating as possible with staff on-site at some off-campus residents, Freshmen Interest Groups and even free shuttle rides to class.
"We are really trying to extend the same programs and services," Minor said. "We're trying to make sure that they're having the same kind of experience just in a slightly distant location."
Minor said as more residential hall renovation projects are completed, more students will be able to move back to campus in the future. Hudson Hall is expected to open up at the start of 2011.