In the past, a drive through the small college town of Castleton, Vermont in early September would reveal countless returning students outside of apartments in the area.
People driving through the town could see the upperclassmen outside enjoying the beautiful weather, throwing the Frisbee around with their “Honk and We’ll drink” sign displayed proudly for all who passed by.
This year though, motorists were finding these properties vacant with “For Rent” signs still posted rather than the cheerful college students.
The small rural town of Castleton is made up of a numerous of rental properties that are normally packed with upperclassmen. It was tradition for older students to jump at the chance to live off campus, with the last years of their educational careers quickly coming to a close and with them trying to learn how to “adults” before their final semester ends.
So why are these rental properties all over town still on the market?
“More upperclassmen are living on campus this year,” said Dean of Residence Life Mike Robilotto.
Castleton University this year opened up new living facilities in nearby Rutland, relieving the already cramped campus of the increase of students.
“We moved our graduate students that were living off campus in the brick buildings down on South Street to the new apartment-living style dorms (in Rutland), so that’s 20 people right there that would potentially be leasing these properties that are still up for rent,” Robilotto said. “We also have more space for living on campus now, which is giving people the option to live in the dorms that in the past they might not have had.”
But could there be other factors also fueling the change? Romello Lindsey is a transfer student who lived in the dorms for a year, but decided to change living situations this semester. He spoke about how weird it was to have vacant apartments in his complex.
“It was hard finding somewhere to live over the summer for next semester, I got lucky I was able to get into the Brick Apartments, the landlord even had said the first day I moved in that there wasn’t any room left. A week later he was asking if I knew anyone looking for somewhere to live and that he’d even lower my rent if I found people,” he said.
Dilan Clements is a junior who rented an apartment off campus, but now as a senior is once again living back in the dorms. But she has a different reason for returning.
“Originally, when I moved off campus, it saved me money and I loved to cook my own food, but I moved back on campus for senior year because I’m graduating in December so it didn’t make sense to rent an apartment again for another year if I would only be living there for half of it,” she said.
When asked what she liked better, she answered “I enjoyed having my own space off campus, eating the food I wanted, not having to follow the rules and policies of campus living and I also saved money. I also really enjoy living on campus though, because it’s so convenient to live near my classes and the gym, being able to grab food whenever I wanted it without the need of grocery shopping and just the feeling of community you get when you live in a dorm with all your friends. Overall I enjoy on campus more because of the convenience.”
Sociology Professor Phil Lamy has different thoughts as to why more students want dorm life.
“I believe there is an infantalization issue with the students in these generations,” he said.
“The culture of the society that we live in today see’s college students as still children and the more that they are told they are children, the more likely that they will act just as they are perceived, as children.”
But how does this translate into students not wanting apartment living?
“Because children don’t want responsibility. It is so much easier to pay one big bill at one time than have multiple different payments due during each month. It gets hectic and is definitely not something kids want to deal with,” he said.
Not all students feel this way about living in the dorms though. For senior Sterling Connolly, living on campus was “awful.”
“I lived in a corridor style room and I lived in a suite and if I didn’t have to, I never would have. After three years it was a breath of fresh air to have a place that I felt I could truly call my own, without all the regulations that come with dorm living,” he said.