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On-Campus in a Pandemic

On-Campus in a Pandemic
EN photo by Julia Bonavita.

By Allie Brown
Staff Writer

A little over a year ago, I was sitting in my childhood bedroom writing essays and applying to college.

I was excited for the opportunities I’d experience, the people I’d meet, and like most- the opportunity to be living away from home.

In my mind, college was going to be worth every penny! It would be the best time of my life.

Then COVID-19 came and flushed most of my dreams down the toilet. FGCU was quick to give me hope of a semi-normal school year when they announced students would be returning to campus in the fall.

I finally had something to look forward to. But now as I sit in my dorm three months in, with coronavirus cases on the rise and one in-person class, I can’t help but think, “Is living on campus worth the money right now?”

Room and board is one of the most expensive parts of college.

The national average for public universities is $11,500, according to educationdata.org. While FGCU’s room and board cost is $9,672, and overall lower than the national average, it is still about $1,074 per month. For your typical college student, that’s a large sum of money.

In the Residences at University Village, for a standard four-bedroom, four-bathroom apartment it will cost $840 per month to rent.

In The Reef, it will cost $745 per month to rent. Both options are significantly cheaper compared to the breakdown of on-campus housing.

At first glance I couldn’t believe the hefty cost of housing, but I, like many others, believed the benefits of living on campus would balance out the cost.

Afterall, living on campus means you get to be more included in the FGCU experience. You’re closer to your peers, your classes and the events! At least, that’s what it was like before the virus.

“…It’s just not the same experience as it once was,” said FGCU student Maddie Miller. Miller acknowledged that “…What they’re doing is in the best interest of everyone, but it honestly feels like a waste of money to live on campus.”

I may not have had the true FGCU experience as a student, but I understand what Miller references.
When talking with older students, they always said how lively the students, staff and faculty were. Even during my college tour, I knew this was an active school.

There was always something to do, but now these events are limited on time and capacity, which leaves little time to get to know your peers.

Are there benefits to living on campus while in a pandemic?

The answer to that is yes. These benefits include being able to better establish relationships with your peers during the rough times, but economically it can be problematic.

The Housing Staff has done an outstanding job engaging with residents through events and social media. They have done great with what they have and continue to make the most out of this experience.

As students we appreciate what FGCU is trying to do, but we need to know we are getting value out of not only just living on campus, but also the money we are paying to be here to have the FGCU experience.

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