Improving resident relations

ItÕs no secret that different stages in life are coupled with different day-to-day activities. Sure, we may enjoy painting or singing in the shower from birth until death, but some other pastimes are more stringently associated with a certain decade.

Proof of this can be seen in the lifestyle choices of a typical 20 year-old living in an off campus apartment versus the choices of the 40-somethings living next door with their two kids. Here comes the clash of UVM and residential Burlington.

This clash can be examined best through the lens of personal liberties and freedoms. There is a philosophy regarding these freedoms that says, in short, I can swing my fist as much as I want to, so long as it does not collide with your face.

I cannot imagine that the majority of students living off campus would identify with this philosophy and I would not ask them to.

In college, Thursday through Saturday is generally fair game for partying. And with a student body as lively as UVMÕs, itÕs understandable how the streets and certain houses can get a little too rowdy.

The repercussions for the families residing in Burlington are sleepless nights, while the student penalties typically result in parties getting shut down and fines due to noise complaints. ItÕs easy to see that both parties are dissatisfied with the given situation.

Actions taken to prevent this mixing of residents and students vary. One alternative already in place at UVM is the Redstone Lofts. Looking past its architectural criticism and plumbing issues, the LoftsÕ on-campus location is beneficial to students and Burlington families alike.

Having a housing option located on campus but not owned by the University allows students to have freedoms they would experience living in a house off campus, while living the traditional ÒcollegeÓ lifestyle without disturbing the lives of other Burlington residents.

Another practice that is not implemented in Burlington but has been tried elsewhere is to build a suburb for student housing on undeveloped land away from residential family areas.

For environmental reasons, I wouldnÕt advocate the building of apartments for student use, but perhaps pre-existing houses could be purchased and allocated for students.

That is not to say that these solutions are without their own problems. Any action of the university or of a private entity to enact restrictions on where students can live is bound to provide for student disagreement.

But even with this consideration, it could be beneficial for students to live in an area that is predominantly dominated by off campus students.

The likelihood of this happening is slim due to the massive amount of funding projects like this necessitate. Currently, SGA does work with the city to help lower noise ordinances. But as of right now, this is the strongest step taken on the issue.

I think the best solution right now is for both students and residents to be more aware of each other and of their lifestyle differences.