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As lease deadlines approach, Drake students discuss housing options

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The beginning of the spring semester marks the start of housing hunting for students. Drake University has a two-year on-campus living requirement for incoming students. Most first-years will continue to live on-campus in one of the sophomore residence halls, but the world will soon open up to sophomores who have the opportunity to move off-campus.

Drake offers West Village apartments for junior and senior housing just off-campus. Options include studio, single, double and quad furnished apartments. However, students may also choose to live in alternate apartments, Fraternity and Sorority Life houses or rental houses.

“I think the best part about living in a house is the sense of independence you gain from being the sole person or group of individuals responsible for the care and upkeep of the property,” senior Grace Brunner said. 

Brunner lives in a house near the northwest corner of campus with three other Drake students. She said she appreciates the amount of space a house affords her.

“When I lived in an apartment, it felt like my roommates and I were living on top of each other, and our personal bedrooms were really the only rooms where you could truly have some time on your own,” Brunner said. “House living has granted me the luxury of enjoying more personal space where I can fully recharge.”

Other students appreciate personal space but also value the opportunity to live with many people. Junior Will Wanty, who lives in the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity house, said this is one of his favorite parts of living there.

“I love that I get to live with 20 of my best friends. Every day is a new adventure,” Wanty said. “I look forward to the constant laughs and support I get from all of my brothers.”

Wanty applied for “Greek release” his first-year, which allowed him to move off-campus a year early and live in the fraternity house.

“I loved the fact that the house was cheaper than living on campus while also including a personal chef and cleaning services. I also loved the freedom of making my room my own. I could paint the walls, hang up pictures and customize my space however I want,” Wanty said.

Atmosphere and comfort are also important factors when choosing where to live. Junior Daja Lucas selected the Canary Lofts near the southeast end of campus for these factors.

“I chose this option because I loved the security of the building and the atmosphere of the apartments,” Lucas said. “I also really like the placement of the building close to most of my classes.”

However, all housing options near campus come with distinct challenges.

“At Canary [Lofts], they have a policy [that], if the lease is considered short-term, then you have to pay an additional fee on top of your rent every month. So I decided to sign a 12 month lease and have my apartment during the summer even if I am not necessarily gonna be in Des Moines,” Lucas said.

Challenges also come in the form of more independence and responsibility.

“There really isn’t anyone who will be holding your hand and reminding you to set up and pay for your utility services,” Brunner said. 

She added that she did lots of research on her utility companies when first moving into her house.

While Lucas does not have roommates and Wanty’s roommates were assigned, Brunner offered advice to underclassmen seeking roommates.

“Don’t underestimate how exciting it can be to share a space with other people. Once it became clear that [my roommates and I] could realistically work very well together as roommates, we did most of the house hunting and planning together, which was very nice,” Brunner said.

Brunner has encouraged underclassmen not to stress too much because seeking housing in college is not a lifetime commitment.

“If things aren’t exactly how you pictured they would be, your college housing experience is very temporary in the scheme of things,” Brunner said. “Do what works best for you and prioritize your peace, but know that you won’t be living in your college space forever.”

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