College is a time when kids who have lived their entire lives under their parent’s roof get to finally explore their independence. It’s a time when students get to reinvent themselves and exert their autonomy.
So imagine the disappointment that students feel when they realize that instead of moving into the dorms, as the typical college experience prescribes, they find themselves at the end of a waiting list for housing among hundreds of other names. These would-be campus dwellers have only two options — either face a long commute from their parents’ home or find housing elsewhere in the city.
The problem with these two solutions is that neither of them will help eliminate SF State’s moniker as a commuter campus. Our campus has long suffered from a disconnect between student life and campus community. Living on campus is one way to forge a relationship with that community, which can help students experience our University as a second home.
President Leslie E. Wong has noted the issue of campus housing and intends to look for a solution.
But how can we expect students to fully commit to the school as more than just a location for classes when those who want to live here as part of the community aren’t even afforded that option?
Looking outside of the University for housing seems more promising initially. San Francisco has a unique housing market in that we live on the tip of a peninsula surrounded on three sides by water with no room for expansion. This trait of our beautiful city is great because it prevents the urban sprawl that tends to afflict many large urban areas, but it has its drawbacks too.
The fact that San Francisco has nowhere to grow but up means that housing everywhere in the city is at a premium. Housing off campus can be hard to come by, and the cheap ones go fast. Our University should be doing all it can to provide all students with affordable housing options and not making it harder than winning the lottery.
The city is already doing its part to add to affordable housing with Proposition C on this November’s ballot. The proposition would create the San Francisco Housing Trust Fund to develop housing for low-income and moderate-income families. The University should be doing the same for students.
The fact that so many students try to cram themselves into these dorm rooms is encouraging for SF State’s planned evolution into a destination campus, but leaving hundreds of students lying stagnant on waitlists and pushing them to find off-campus housing doesn’t benefit the student body or the University.