OU housing provides a sense of community

By John Doe

Housing at Oakland University this semester reached capacity. Students are still living in a nearby hotel. While most OU students commute from home to campus, many utilize the option of moving into the dorms.

Jim Zentmeyer, the Director of University Housing, said he’s excited about the growth in demand for housing on campus. He sees living on campus as a unique opportunity that opens doors to a successful future.

“We hope to get resident hall students to take advantage of the four-year cycle,” Zentmeyer said.

Also, according to Zentemeyer, students who live on campus are more likely to get involved in student activities.

“It’s a little bit trickier for a commuter student to make those types of arrangements, to get involved in clubs and organizations,” Zentmeyer said.

Resident students run the majority of Oakland University Student Congress and other clubs and organizations. Large numbers of student leaders that belong to the Honors College also live in resident halls.

“The students that are living on campus are the ones that are getting involved, cheering the Golden Grizzlies on, wearing black and gold like crazy,” Zentmeyer said. “They’re so enthusiastic because they’re living here, and they know what it’s doing for them.”

While students living on campus are making their mark on the University, the University also hopes to give back to them.

Career services plans to focus on the residential apartments.

Tutoring is also available to students living on campus in Vandenberg Hall.

“We are working on providing more ‘slipper services’ for our students where they don’t need to leave their building to get the services they need if they don’t want to,” Zentmeyer said.

Rachel St. Peter is the graduate hall director of North Hamlin Hall, an all-freshman campus residence hall.

“We want students to think of the residence halls as more than just where they sleep at night,” St. Peter said. “The halls are their homes, and being active and meeting people will make their hall feel like a home versus just a building.”

Students have enjoyed the efforts of their advisors to make their residence halls home.

“I love being able to make friends and only having to walk down the hall to find someone to hang out with or help with homework,” sophomore Rachel Smalley, an accounting major living in West Vandenburg, said.

Kyla Kellerman, a freshman and student athlete at OU said she enjoys attending the weekly floor dinners whenever she has the time.

“Students should never be bored in the halls,” St. Peter said. “We rarely have a night without an activity or program being put on.”

Many OU students admit to allowing the experience of living in a residence hall slip away without actually enjoying the time.

Senior Sarah Lynch said that she did not give living in the residence halls a fair chance, and she cautions incoming freshman to appreciate the dorm-room experience.

St. Peter agrees with Lynch.

“Get involved,” she said. “Go to the programs your RAs put on, ask someone down the hall to eat lunch with you, find a group or activity to join,” St. Peter said.

Other benefits of living on campus include avoiding the fight against commuters for parking spots.

Alyssa Januska, a freshman at OU, commuted for the first couple days of classes. After realizing the immense amount of time spent in the car, she moved into OU’s dorms.

“Walking to class is a lot easier than driving around,” Januska said. “And fighting for a parking spot is not much fun either.”

Januska also assures that there is a lot to do when school is not in session. Her and her friends spend time in the Oakland Center and at Bumpers Gameroom. Living in a dorm guarantees that people are always around to pass time.

However, other students feel that OU dorms cannot compare to those of other University campuses.

Ross Maghielse graduated from OU in the summer of 2011. He lived in Hamlin Hall his freshman year.

“It seemed like if the activity or gathering wasn’t organized by OU housing, they were against it taking place,” Maghielse said.

“We had to be creative because OU really has an uptight atmosphere when it comes to having fun on campus.” Maghielse said. “OU wants a bigger school atmosphere like MSU, Michigan or Central, but they insist on dorm checks, obsessive and unneeded police attention with cops that do pretty much nothing but hand out MIPs.”

Overall, dormers have enjoyed their first weeks living on campus.

“It’s a great time, and it’s really fun so far,” Januska said. “I would recommend living on campus. If you commute, you do not get the entire college experience.”

As the demand for housing continues to soar, University housing hopes to accommodate the requests, but understands that there is only so much that they can do.

“The demand has grown steadily where we have outstripped any hope of meeting demand,” Zentmeyer said. “If ever there was a time when the stars were really aligned for going forward with expanded housing, this would be the time.”

For more information about housing at Oakland University visit the website at www.oakland.edu/housing