Finding a place to call home can feel like a perpetual task for college students. The last thing a busy student wants to do is sift through dozens of listings only to go through the whole process again months later — especially when wallets are thin and time is limited.
The off-campus housing bulletin board in the heart of Student Union is cluttered with all sorts of postings: roommates wanted, houses for rent, rooms for rent, even cabins for rent. It’s a great tool, but fliers can only take one so far.
With 90 percent of the student population living off campus, UAA saw that resources beyond the bulletin board were necessary.
UAA provides off-campus living services through the Department of Student Union and Commuter Student Services. The program was designed to assist students looking for off-campus housing and to help answer any questions they may have. Students have the option to meet with a staff member or visit the main website for more information. Off-campus living guides, the department’s newest addition to their services, are efficient and provide additional in-depth guidance.
Commuter Student Services gave out their first batch of guides during Campus Kickoff and reported a success.
“It’s easy for us students to sit down with other students because you can relate and you’ve been in their shoes,” said Alison Brohaugh, Student Union and Commuter Student Services student manager. “But if students don’t want to sit there for half an hour with us, this is an easy takeaway to do it on their own.”
Brohaugh, like other student workers involved with off-campus living services, has gone through training sessions, thoroughly covering the thick packets.
“It talks about everything from conflict to respect, moving, paying your rent, privacy, noise levels — everything,” Brohaugh said.
The packet includes sample lease agreements with tips on what to look for. It also has a sample roommate agreement, a tool used to avoid the pitfalls of a “roommate scenario.”
“We find that friends move in together, and the world seems great at the time. Then there comes a time they’re not friends anymore,” Commuter Student Services Coordinator David Murdoch said. “That’s okay, but there is still that $1,500 a month lease that still needs to be paid.”
Murdoch said the packet has been in the works for two years. He found that landlords in Alaska tend to be “anti-student” — not because of behavioral issues, but because contracts become tricky when dealing with semesters and transfers.
The packet is just one of Commuter Student Services’ efforts to help students living off campus when faced with those roadblocks.
Dawn Dooley, associate dean of students, said, “We want all our students to feel like they belong, whether they live off campus or not.”
Off-campus living guides are available at the information desk in Student Union. For more information on the off-campus living guides, call David Murdoch at 786-1124.