Students discuss pros and cons of campus life against alternatives

One of the most important college decisions is choosing where to live. At UMKC, the options are limited to Johnson Hall residence hall, Oak Street residence hall or the Oak Place Apartments. A student may also choose to live near campus in a house or apartment, or may commute.

UMKC also owns houses on or near campus and rents them out to students.

Several students with various living experiences help provide insight about the pros and cons of their living situations to better inform students looking for new living arrangements next semester.

Tony Sperruzza, a junior transfer student majoring in urban studies, lives in Oak Place Apartments.

“It is a good first-year experience to live in campus housing. I feel more incorporated in the student community. The apartments have a workout room, it is centrally located to everything I need and I feel secure where I live,” Sperruzza said.

Junior Riece Johnson, a medicine major, previously lived in the Oak Place Apartments. He now lives in an apartment near Westport. Having lived both on and off campus, Johnson recognizes the pros and cons of both situations.

“It is liberating having a place of my own,” Johnson said. “When I lived at Oak Place last year, I felt as though the residents weren’t allowed much freedom. However, I did like having my own room and my own bathroom at the apartments. It is close to Johnson Hall, which was where a lot of my friends lived.”

Jung Park, a junior chemistry major, also has experience with campus housing.

He lived in Oak Street residence hall his freshman year. He now lives in a house near campus. He explained the importance of living on campus for first-year students.

“It is essential for freshmen to live at the dorms because that’s how you meet your classmates,” Park said. “I also liked going to the ‘caf ’ with my friends. I could just knock on their doors down the hall and we would all go together.”

Park said he likes having a kitchen to cook his meals and enjoys living in a home rather than an apartment or a dorm room.

“I have more freedom to show off my personal style at my house. I also like that I can live with my dog, Charlie, since I don’t live in campus housing.”

Though Park enjoys his personal freedom from living off campus, he also misses certain aspects of dorm life.

“I miss walking to class and seeing everyone,” Park said. “It’s harder to be involved on campus unless you are involved in a particular organization. The dorms always advertise campus events, so I was more likely to attend them when I lived in the Oak Street dorms.”

Chris Barragan, a freshman chemistry and biology major, commutes from Liberty, Mo.

“I don’t mind commuting because I would rather have more space and privacy where I live,” Barragan said. “However, it would be more convenient to live closer to campus instead of 30 minutes outside of Kansas City. I am able to remain close to my friends and family at home. I don’t have to adjust to living with a roommate that I don’t know.”

Barragan also notes that commuting can be costly.

“It definitely would save me a lot of money if I lived in Kansas City, but I’m not really a ‘city’ person. I prefer the rural area where I live.”

Another student, freshman English major Thomas Schlumm, currently resides in Oak Street residence hall. Overall, he finds dorm life to be a positive experience.

“When I first moved in, everyone was in the same position as I was,” Schlumm said. “We were all a little scared to be living on our own for the first time. I found that people were really supportive of each other. It’s really easy to make a good group of friends because I live in a community.”

Schlumm also enjoys how close the residence hall is to the quad. One of his biggest issues with dorm life, however, is sharing a bathroom with three other people.

“I also worry about theft, because I have heard about it happening,” Schlumm said.

Whether students decide to live in campus housing, off-campus or even in a neighboring town, there are positive and negative aspects for each. The decision depends on each student’s personal preference regarding privacy, convenience and social life. Next year when students evaluate their living arrangements, these are options to consider for a comfortable school year.

Kate Baxendale is managing editor at University News. She is also an intern at KCUR-FM. Kate will graduate with a B.A. in Communication Studies - Journalism and Mass Communications and a B.A. in Spanish in May 2014.


  1. King Street Towers

    June 21, 2017 at 7:18 AM

    Where to live? How to make the choice? These are the main questions for students. Whether off campus or on campus, both of them have negative & positive aspects as well. So, the decision depend upon a student’s personal needs what he/she requires regarding his/ her social life, privacy.

  2. West Village Suites

    July 15, 2017 at 2:07 AM

    Where to live while studying? It is one of the most important discussions for college students. By looking for some best and worst features of campus living, students will easily that choose which one is best for them.

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