A new pitch for the rugby pitch

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The University of Dallas Hoggies huddle during the Groundhog student-alumni rugby game. Photo courtesy of Patrick Callahan.

As sophomores draw ever closer to becoming upperclassmen, they are faced with the difficult choice of where to live.  

While many classes before them have faced and overcome tough housing choices, this class finds themselves in a new situation. Not only is the choice not easy, there is no longer a “best” option.  

When the university owned Tower Village, it was unpleasant, but students at least knew that their voices would be heard and respected. The student apartments have always been a welcome option, but unfortunately only for those lucky enough to get one.

Clark Hall is a fine back-up plan for a semester or two, but I don’t know many people who dream of eating Aramark for all four years of college.

Finally, the condos have been a loved “best” option by many. The current sophomores are facing a very different world.  Tower Village, in my opinion, seems almost prejudiced against students.

One only needs to ask around to hear some pretty concerning stories about the living conditions; as class sizes grow, availability in the student apartments becomes increasingly more competitive; finally, the landlords at the condos have realized the monopoly they have on decent student living and will be raising prices in the next lease cycle to almost unfair rates.

For example, my current condo’s rent will be going up 25 percent for its next tenant. This has left the current sophomores and those coming after them with a new “best” option, one not seriously considered by much of their class or past classes — moving far off campus.  

Because the university can do little in terms of intervention with outside entities and likely cannot afford to build more student housing on campus, the administration is faced with few options if it desires to support a strong community atmosphere maintained by central student housing.

It is so critical to maintain that atmosphere at the University of Dallas, not just to preserve the relationships between students and faculty, but also to ensure the safety of the students as we live on a “wet” campus.  

I believe this is something the university should be considering seriously, as it is critical for a student-centered environment to offer comfortable and reliable housing. The university should bring in developers with the intention of building either apartments or small condominiums on the rugby field.  

I’m not a business major, but I am confident in the small bit of knowledge I do have.  Right now, those who own both Tower Village and the condos have all the power. They know that UD students have nowhere else to go.  

So, what if we had somewhere else to go? I imagine that an immediate effect would be the condo prices returning to reasonable levels. If the condos are no longer the “best” housing option, they would have to compete to maintain customers.

Tower Village could go one of two ways. The first is that they would have to compete to maintain tenants, thus creating more reliability and accountability on their end. The second option entails the owners of Tower Village losing business to the new housing alternative and accepting fewer and fewer tenants, which would work out for students, but not so much for Tower Village.  

The university can do very little to help out the students living off campus right now, but they can begin the steps that would change the market in the future. As students, there is very little we can do except vacate the current market unless it changes.

It is in both the students’ and university’s favor to maintain a walking, non-commuting, campus and lifestyle. I believe that this is the best future for the rugby field. As time passes, the need for alternative upperclassmen housing is only going to get worse. Let’s nip the problem in the bud.

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