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Now & Then: Off-campus living

Marissa Frobes | Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Upon facing the demand to sign my Irish Row lease for next year, I began to think about what prompted students to move off campus in earlier years. Personally (and I think several of my peers agree), I am simply looking for a change of pace, a little more space and some independence.

Same story, different year. While a majority of students at Notre Dame live on campus, many upperclassmen make the move to apartments or houses for their last years in South Bend.

For some, the transition is financially beneficial. According to the Office of Financial Aid, room and board for undergraduate students sits at around $10,870 for the 2010-11 academic year. Throw eight boys in a house on Notre Dame Ave. who are willing to live off Ramen and Easy Mac for months at a time — which constitutes a substantial cut in their cost of living.

For Domers in the 1980s, scrimping was feasible thanks to Hamburger Helper and mastering the technique of “Krogering,” according to “The Dome” of 1985. Apart from the choice of processed food and the name of the supermarket, 1985 sounds pretty similar to 2010.

In 1985, many students chose off campus living for “the benefit … of not having to be completely subservient to the stack of parietal rules and alcohol regulations” (“The Dome,” 1985), despite the fact that “du Lac” technically still applied to every member of the student body. Several students today can attest to the fact that this was their motivating factor for moving off, too. Or for the unfortunate ones, the quote represents their reason for losing dorm privileges.

Today and in the 1980s, still other students have completely random reasons for moving off campus.

John Marske of the Class of 1985 moved off campus to fulfill his fantasy of owning a waterbed.

Maybe they have a flair for interior decoration, and minuscule dorm rooms are not fulfilling their Pottery Barn dreams:

It looks like Jim Canty, Jerry Judd and Jack Seiler of “The Estate” on “ND Ave” in 1985 counted this mounted deer head on their wall as their additional roommate. A few weeks ago, I encountered a blow-up deer protruding from a wall in a Lafayette apartment that male inhabitants similarly adored. It was quite the modern spin on decorating with animal paraphernalia.

Terry Saliga of 1985 moved to Turtle Creek so she could install a “bar-like structure” in her living room.

Irish Row advertises tanning beds as part of their appeal as an off-campus option. That might be a deal breaker for some.

Whatever the reason, for some moving off campus is as desirable a thought today as it was in the 1980s. And with brand new apartments and houses popping up every year in South Bend, you can live in luxury before you even graduate from college.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

Contact Marissa Frobes at mfrobes@nd.edu