I hate living in Panther Village.
I know that’s harsh, but it’s the truth. I didn’t mind it at the beginning of the year. I was excited about the shuttle and being able to save money on gas. I was out of the dorms and no longer living with random strangers who the housing office partnered me up with. I was living with my best friend. We wanted our place to feel like it belonged to us and that it was our home, so we named our apartment “The Beehive.”
The excitement was short-lived. It is pretty fabricated that the shuttle comes every 15 minutes, so I’ve found myself running on Chapman’s time. During interterm and on the weekends, catching a shuttle is pretty much impossible, and I found myself sneaking my car into the Lastinger Parking Structure even though I have a Panther Village parking permit. I cannot imagine living in Panther Village if I didn’t have a car, so when I heard about the goal Chapman has to require all freshmen and sophomores to live in on-campus housing, I was pretty concerned.
People who are 18 and older are considered adults. We should be able to be trusted to make our own decisions. Making freshmen and sophomores live in Chapman-provided housing doesn’t allow students to make their own decisions.
The land that Chapman bought behind Panther Village is only about two miles away from campus, but that can feel like much farther distance on such a small campus like Chapman. Student life is concentrated on campus and in the Orange Plaza, and can make it difficult to feel connected to all the students who live in the dorms and around campus. The shuttle does grocery trips to Ralphs and trips to the mall, but not frequently enough, with only six trips between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. With only one grocery store on the shuttle’s route, living in Panther Village isn’t exactly cost effective.
On-campus housing is not exactly the most affordable either. A quaint dorm room for three people in Henley Hall can cost upward of $14,000 per year. Panther Village is the cheapest on-campus option for about $9,000.
While I understand the concerns that Orange residents have had about students living off campus, ultimately, it’s a more affordable or more sensible option for a lot of people. Because of my heavy involvement on campus, I can be on campus for upwards of 12 hours at a time because of the shuttle schedule. Oftentimes, there’s just not enough time for me to go home and eat dinner or take a nap between classes and other commitments. This seems like a small thing, but it’s a nuisance and costly to be eating out and time-consuming to meal prep for a whole week.
Next year, I’m moving into a house of six with people I really love, that has plenty of space and is walking distance from campus. The entire set-up seems like it’s going to be a less expensive, and happier option.