1.RELATIONAL: Research indicates that students who live on campus have significantly more social interaction with peers. This connection with peers is important because many students will leave a university if they feel disconnected and marginalized from their community. These relationships also provide a place where students can “unpackage” their academic experiences with their peers.
2. MENTORS: There is significantly more social interaction that an on-campus student has with faculty and administrators. This connection with faculty permits a student to become more engaged in their area of study, which leads to deepening their interest and focus on their discipline.
3. SATISFACTION: On-campus residents are more likely to be involved in co-curricular activities and use campus facilities. As Ernest Boyer observed some years ago, over 100 hours of a week are spent outside of classes and studying. Use of facilities and participation in co-curricular events rounds out and augments what is learned in the classroom. This further reinforces their satisfaction with their university experience.
4. GRADUATION: Interestingly, students who live in campus housing consistently persist in their studies and graduate at significantly higher rates than students who have not had this on-campus experience.
5. SENSE OF SELF: Students living in residence halls show a “higher level of self-esteem over time.” Autonomy and self-directedness also appear to be higher than those who commute from their parents’ home. If a development of maturity in young adults is a goal of parents and an institution, this observation is encouraging.
6. VALUES: Another interesting observation is that those who live on campus express significantly greater increases in aesthetic, cultural and intellectual values. These are the hopes of liberal arts institutions across the country.
7. SCHOOL PRIDE: A deeper sense of “school pride” is also present that then contributes to a student’s sense of belonging and ownership for their own educational experience.
8. CONVENIENCE: There are also the general convenience issues such as meal preparation, maintenance of buildings, access to study groups, etc.
9. COST: There are certain circumstances where living off campus seems to be a better financial option. At times this is the case; however, when one adds the cost of Internet, laundry and utilities to the overall cost, that margin is diminished or eliminated. Further, the challenge of renting with other roommates becomes interesting when dynamics of sharing in the payment of bills become an issue.
10. SAFETY: While Newberg has a diligent and thorough police department and other emergency services which are very quick and professional, living on campus adds to a student’s actual and perceived safety and security. Having professional staff that are always training and watching for the safety of students cannot be replicated by the city. Security, plant services and residence life personnel are trained in medical response as well as being observant in identifying concerns that arise in terms of safety.
11. SUPPORT: At smaller schools like George Fox, in moments where a student has a mental and/or physical crisis or even academic concerns, the possibilities for assistance, advocacy and intervention are much higher for those living on campus.
12. SPIRITUAL GROWTH: In many ways, the most important aspect of the George Fox experience has to do with our ethos and mission. Students who live on campus have much better access to opportunities for prayer, studies, accountability, late-night conversations, and formal and informal opportunities to grow spiritually.