UK Housing starts initiative to keep students on campus


Posters advertising the benefits of living on campus with the intent of promoting on-campus housing are pasted throughout dorms on UK’s campus in Lexington, Kentucky. 

Cathryn Perini

It’s hard to ignore the posters placed strategically on every door and even on many trees around campus. ‘Live on campus!’ is the message that is being so loudly portrayed to students as they walk from Bowman’s Den to Funkhouser and everywhere in between.

The question that many students seem to be asking is why is UK Campus Housing pushing this new initiative for students to live on campus?

The advertisement campaign is obviously aimed toward returning students, those that will be second-year or above during the 2018-2019 academic year, simply because incoming freshmen are not able to see the posters around campus. UK Campus Housing does aim to have enough housing for all first-year students, as well as returners.

Although there is no requirement for freshmen to live on campus, and with no plans to change that policy, 90 percent do, which is about 4,400 per year.

“I think that as a freshman, living on campus is a good experience to have. It’s like what first comes to mind when people think of college,” said Olivia Kelly, a UK sophomore and history major.

Retention rate is higher among students who live on campus. There are around 6,600 students living on campus for the 2017-2018 academic year. More students are living on campus than ever before, according to Jay Blanton, a UK spokesman.

UK Housing wants to provide enough housing for as many students as possible, including returning students who often look to Zillow instead for their next housing assignments.

The posters around campus claim that students who live in campus housing have a higher GPA, on average, than those who do not.

That raises the question, Don’t younger students typically live on campus? Comparing the 100-level classes of the freshmen students’ schedules to the 400- and 500-level classes of the juniors and seniors living off of Limestone doesn’t seem fair. In actuality, the GPA comparison is that of first-year students who live on campus, and those who live off, according to Blanton.

“We know students do better – in all phases, academically and socially – when they live on campus. Now, we have living spaces that enhance learning and foster community,” Blanton said. “That’s why President Capilouto and our Board of Trustees led the effort to build these high-tech, high-touch living and learning spaces. It’s all about students and their success and building community.”

As well as claiming better academic success among students who live on campus, the ad campaign says that students do better socially as well.

With new facilities, and the possibility for increased social and academic performance, there seems to be no reason for students to be moving off campus, so why are they?

The main reason among many students who have moved off campus is the freedom that isn’t given to them in dorms.

“I wanted more freedom than the dorms allow and I also wanted to have more space,” said Kennah Shaw, a former UK student who is now a sophomore at the University of Louisville.

Some students think that the freedom to live off campus away from the rules and regulations of the dorms benefits them by increasing their motivation and independence.

“Living away from campus forces me to discipline myself and forces myself to get up on time, catch the bus and get to class,” said Megan Rohrbach, a junior journalism major and criminology minor.

Contrary to the advertisements, students like Shaw and Rohrbach saw an increase in their GPA after moving off campus.

Nonetheless, UK Campus Housing wants to benefit students in any way possible.

“The institution [has been] more aggressive in communicating with students what we’ve done in designing residence halls specifically for the educational and social residence halls specifically for the educational and social needs of our students,” Blanton said.

Now it is up to the students to make their decision to take advantage of the facilities UK Campus Housing has provided or not. All students should expect to keep seeing encouragement from Housing on their walks through campus, regardless of their decision.