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Stories and free breakfast help students prepare for off-campus living

Security deposits, door locks and leaky faucets. What do all these things have in common? They’re all things you have to think about when making the jump from dorm to off-campus living.

The Campus Community Coalition hosted Housing and Hashbrowns Saturday, Feb 5. to give students breakfast and information about off-campus living.

Speakers discussed topics ranging from signing leases, renter responsibility and how to throw courteous parties.

Freshman Madison Carter, who lives in Edens Hall, attended the event to learn how to make moving easier.

“I’m the oldest in my family and the first to go to college, so I don’t have any experience with finding off-campus housing,” Carter said. “Also there’s breakfast.”

Speakers from the Campus Community Coalition shared some horror-stories to prepare students for possible worst-case scenarios. Event coordinator, Julia Burns, shared an experience in one of her first off-campus living situations. Burns moved into a house and in the process of setting up her utilities, forgot about gas. When she tried to move out, she was hit with $500 worth of gas bills.

Burns said the goal of the presentation was to teach students about renters rights, paying bills and signing leases so they don’t make mistakes later.

“I think signing a lease is a very intimidating thing for a lot of people,” Burns said. “You get thrown a lot of legal word language at you and it’s hard to understand.”

Students brought up various concerns throughout the presentation, such as how much should they  pay for rent and if it’s okay to smoke marijuana even if the neighbors are upset by the smell.

Freshman Dana Ericksen said she was concerned about the idea of finding a place to live close to campus.

David Henken, supervising staff attorney at Law Advocates Legal Assistance by Whatcom, gave his advice in the form of a poem.

“Keep things clean, don’t do crime, always pay your rent on time,” Henken said.

For more information, see Western’s off-campus living website at http://www.wwu.edu/offcampusliving.



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