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Commentary Relays Edition

Rising Juniors and the Drake University Housing Crisis

Drake West Village housing complex Stressors mount for students looking for housing outside of Drake’s campus. Photo Courtesy of Bryson Rea | Sports Editor

Rising juniors face mounting stress as they face the horror of securing housing for the upcoming school year.

Leaving Goodwin-Kirk and Jewett behind, juniors will be able to live off campus for the first time. I know that I’m excited to leave a life filled with RAs and communal bathrooms for better living arrangements. This year’s Jewett residents will look back in remembrance as the last class to live in the building. 

As I sign a lease for West Village, I look forward to having my own room to decorate however I want. Finding roommates who were willing to stay at a Drake-owned housing complex was definitely a point of stress for the first few months of the school year. When balancing coursework, social commitments and extracurricular activities, who has time to worry about housing? 

A lot of off-campus apartments are crazy expensive, and I wouldn’t want to drive 20+ minutes to campus each day. Groceries, gas and first apartment basics are major expenses for any student.

For many students, this is the first time they will have the opportunity to be truly independent. With the two-year housing requirement completed, students can make their own meals and control their own space. Personally, I look forward to cooking and washing dishes in a sink that isn’t shared with 300 other students. 

However, the exciting prospect of living independently is diminished by the rising cost of living in Des Moines. When I looked at different housing options, the price was a huge factor in my decision. As I await my pending move-in to West Village, I know other people are currently in the process of making other plans. 

If you are a student looking to live in a Drake-owned facility, West Village, Greek housing and the Dogtown Suites serve as decent options. Depending on the layout, these options can be expensive. If you opt for Greek housing, I would argue that a personal chef is worth the price.

Members of Sororities will be greeted with chef-cooked meals and free laundry, but the thousands of dollars per year outweigh the pros of the experience. West Village residents will only have to share a bathroom with one other person and will have the freedom of a decent kitchen. On the other hand, bland furniture that cannot be removed and paper-thin walls will be a major downside. Students opting for the Dogtown Inn and Suites will have a single bedroom and bathroom but will still be required to pay for a meal plan. 

Students who forgo Drake University’s housing options can opt for off-campus housing, but many of these apartments are just as expensive with less security. With Drake’s campus being located in a popular, urban area, some are worried about a lack of security leaving the dorms. Unless you decide to live in West Village, secured entrances are no longer a commonality. Drake Public Safety frequently patrols the area surrounding the Drake campus, but students living off campus may want to take additional precautions.

What about other arrangements? Possibly a former fraternity house? Houses owned and rented by the University are a decently affordable option, but finding roommates who won’t drive you insane can be challenging. This is a good option for students who have an odd number of roommates they are interested in living with or just want to go solo. 

Students who are against University housing costs entirely may decide to go for a traditional apartment. To find the most affordable options, students will likely need to move away from 30th Street and into more cost-effective neighborhoods. Saying goodbye to the Drake neighborhood can be an isolating experience for many students and can be associated with a lengthy drive to campus.

There is a significant amount of stress associated with finding housing. Between a full course load and fast-approaching housing deadlines, students are bound to feel overwhelmed. Remember that you are not alone in your search for housing. Whatever housing option you decide is right for you, there are campus resources available to support you.


1 Comment

  1. Paul LeFort May 8, 2024

    Great article, Skylar! Good perspective & advice for student looking at all options!


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