Information independence

| Staff Columnist

For many years, it’s been trendy to talk about the Wash. U. “bubble”—which includes the Danforth Campus and the Loop, and to a lesser extent downtown Clayton and Forest Park. What doesn’t get mentioned is the community within a community composed of those who live on campus.

I loved living on the South 40, and only moved away, with some complaining, when it ceased to be fashionable. For two years prior, RAs and Congress of the South 40 officials filled my Wash. U. inbox with emails about events taking place on campus, sometimes on the South 40, sometimes not, and they were a great way to stay up-to-date without being involved in myriad student groups.

Since leaving, this stream of messages has disappeared, and I’m in the dark as to what’s happening on campus. I was never notified about John Oliver, and only figured out when and where tickets could be picked up when I walked past a line of students stretching to Graham Chapel, most of them freshmen asking each other what they were doing that Wednesday night. I had no idea that Joseph Gordon-Levitt was coming to campus until Student Life ran an article on the subject on Monday, one that I didn’t see until after the last tickets were taken. I, as well as many other students who live off campus, would have liked to see him, but since we don’t live on campus, that wasn’t an option.

Being off campus does much more than remove a student physically; with the absence of a constant email barrage, or even a painted wall to walk past, it removes a student mentally from the Wash. U. community. I feel separated from life on campus, and from the student body I felt a part of for two years.

There should be a group that does for students who live off campus, be they in university or independently-owned housing, what so many groups, RAs and RCDs do for students who live on the South 40 or in the Village. The South 40 may be a fair distance away, but I can readily think of several functions put on last year as far away as Mudd that I’d be interested in this year, if only I had the information about both when they occurred and the fact that they existed at all. It’s significantly easier to convince me to go to Graham Chapel, the site of Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s visit, which I’m convinced is equidistant from this year and last year’s housing.

With the exception of occasional hints of nostalgia, I enjoy living off campus. A friend of mine put it well when he said, “you miss the carnival feel sometimes, but you can’t beat the independence of being off campus.” I agree entirely, and I bid a happy farewell to the mollycoddling and omnipresent dorm authorities. However, the basic informative function they and others served is completely absent as soon as one moves away. For no greater reason than potential entertainment, I want to be kept in the know as to important events on campus.

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