Campus Housing Q&A with Dr. DeAndre Taylor
One of the most fun and exciting aspects of starting your college career is being able to become part of a community and engage with others who are embarking on a new academic journey alongside you. Living in on-campus housing is a great way to embed yourself in a vibrant campus community and take advantage of what this new environment has to offer. From the freedom of having your own space to the convenience of living close to your friends, classes, professors, dining facilities, the Sport Activity Center (SAC), and so much more, living on campus is a great way to ensure you have a full and rich college experience that prepares for the future and empowers you to succeed.
Dr. DeAndre Taylor, UW-Parkside’s Director of Housing and Residence Life, takes some time to tell us about the many benefits of living on campus, and how it can benefit every UW-Parkside student.
"...Specifically, first-year and second-year students living on campus persist at higher rates than those living off campus."
Who can benefit from living on campus?
All UW-Parkside students can benefit from living on campus. Especially first-year and second-year students. Despite the distance of your home from campus, living on-campus provides students with the opportunity to have greater access to campus resources. The Residence Life team is committed to offering opportunities that support a student's overall success. Whether it's the opportunity to socialize with individuals of diverse backgrounds and interests or having custom study skills workshops tailored for residential students, living on campus offers a piece of mind knowing that housing staff will support you at Parkside. Not to mention, living on campus eliminates the stress of commuting to campus.
What do you see as the biggest benefits of on-campus housing?
There are many benefits to living on campus. The obvious benefit is the proximity to classes. Living on campus allows you to be to any class within 10 minutes. Another benefit is the fixed costs of living while living on campus. Living in the residence halls means a student does not have to worry about the varying costs associated with living off campus. All essential utilities (internet, heat, a/c, cable, and food) are included in the price of on-campus housing.
Lastly, and most importantly, studies show that living on campus has a clear and profound impact on student persistence and engagement. Specifically, first-year and second-year students living on campus persist at higher rates than those living off campus. Comparing students who live on campus to those who live off campus, students who live on campus are more likely to engage in academic activities that contribute positively to retention rates, academic success, and a sense of belonging to the university community.
What do students most enjoy about living on campus?
Students enjoy meeting new people and growing as leaders, but they overwhelmingly say that they enjoy living on campus because it allows them to become more independent adults.
What kind of activities and opportunities are available for students living on campus?
In addition to those opportunities available to students through the Campus Activities and Engagement office, students who live on campus have access to the Residential Ranger Experience. The Residential Ranger Experience is a set of activities and opportunities specifically and intentionally designed to nurture and support residential students' educational journey and personal development throughout the resident's collegiate experience. The Residential Ranger Experience consists of four engagement areas that cultivate academic and student success. These focus areas include community engagement, academic engagement, social justice engagement, and leadership engagement.
What are some ways on campus students can get involved?
On campus, students can get involved by participating in the various leadership opportunities on campus. In addition to campus opportunities, on-campus students can become leaders in their residential communities by applying to become a Resident Advisor.
How many options are available for on campus housing?
We know it's important that you're comfortable where you live, so our residents can choose from three kinds of living environments.
Ranger Hall | Traditional style residence hall- great for first-year students
Pike River Suites | Suites with two to three rooms- great for second-year and transfer students
University Apartments | Four-bedroom apartments- great for upper class and graduate students
Which one is you favorite? Why?
My favorite community option is Ranger. Not only does Ranger have great views out the windows, but Ranger has huge rooms. Did you know that Ranger has the largest rooms out of all UW System residence halls?
What are some of the coolest/unique/creative designs or decorations you have seen students do with their room?
I've seen many designs and features in rooms. The coolest has to be when two residents built custom bed lofts, allowing them to maximize the floor space in their room. They were able to have both a relaxing living space and a productive study space in their room.
What other kind of support is available for on-campus students?
All campus communities have Resident Advisors, who are student staff that lives and work in the halls. They plan events, build community, get residents connected to campus, and are available in case of emergency. There is also a full-time professional Hall Director (HD) who has an office in the residence halls. Like the Hall Director, our other professional staff members (Associate Director and Director) connect with other professionals across campus. These connections allow professional staff members the ability to customize the support and care we provide to residential students.
What's the best kept secret about living on campus?
The best-kept secret about living on campus is residents' exposure to other cultures and experiences. Not only do residents find their life-long friends, but residents also have the opportunity to build smaller networks within the larger campus community.
If you had to describe living on campus in one word or phrase, what would it be?
Rewarding. Rewarding because it allows students to have the whole college experience. Of course, college is about obtaining an excellent education, but college is also about having new experiences. Both the excellent education and new experience make up the overall college experience. Those living on campus often enjoy a greater sense of community than those who do not. Living close to academic buildings can make it easier for students to connect with others through campus activities, easily adjust to college life, connect with professors, and establish long-lasting connections with peers.
For more information about living on campus, visit www.uwp.edu/live/offices/residencelife/