When I meet someone new at Scripps College, our first conversation will typically wander to our living situations. At the inevitable reveal that I live off-campus at the Claremont Collegiate Apartments of Claremont Graduate University, I am often met with emphatic gasps of horror.
While I do appreciate the sense of righteousness and the standards that Scripps students have for their college, living at CGU has not been as terrible as people have made it out to be. In fact, I’ve come to appreciate the home that CGU has become for me.
Yes, as an institution that prides itself on the residential experience it provides for its students, boasting awards such as the #1 ranking for “Best College Dorms” Princeton Review, Scripps was unreasonable in its decision to move its first-years off-campus. On the college’s website, the CGU apartments were never listed as a housing possibility, which was misleading to first-year’s students and could still be misleading for prospective students.
Living on campus at Scripps connotes having the resources and the proximity to students necessary to building a community. We, CGU residents, do not have a recreation room to ourselves, which isn’t very conducive to the spontaneous late-night gatherings and conversations advertised as typical to the experience of college students, nor do we have the luxury of rolling out of bed and going to class or late-night snack.
However, I’ve found a sense of community: while waiting for the 1:50 a.m. shuttle back to CGU, while studying at the library with fellow CGU residents because of the shuttle break, while having friends who live on Scripps campus come over to both play Cards Against Humanity and watch movies (and the kitchen in every apartment at CGU means easy access to freshly-popped popcorn).
Additionally, I think that the physical separation between school and “home” has been beneficial to my mental health. I take the shuttle to Scripps to attend classes and complete my assignments, and I come back to CGU to relax and wind down. Ultimately, CGU is a 12-minute walk from campus, and I appreciate that Scripps utilized funding to provide a shuttle running every day from seven in the morning to two at night. Scripps also offered free bicycles and helmets to students for the duration of their stay at CGU and a stipend of $2000 for a laptop or summer internship.
Like at the other dorms at Scripps, there are individuals who strive to make CGU feel like a community. During finals week last semester, the employees at the CGU community center consoled us by filling up our feelings of emptiness with snacks and caffeinated beverages every night of reading period. Our residential advisors host events such as “Board Game Night” and “Smoothie Study Sessions.” Our shuttle drivers ensure we get to classes safely and on time. We communicate with administration to voice concerns and suggest improvements to the housing situation.
Scripps’ decision to move its first-year students off-campus likely could have been avoided with better planning. But, in light of this decision, the college has taken strides to ensure a safe and communal residential experience for its first-year students living at CGU.
Rui-Jie Yew SC ‘21 is from Fremont, California. She intends on majoring in computer science/ mathematics.