An Interview with Stephanie Adamec, Director of Off-Campus and Commuter Services

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Does your student live in an off campus residence, or is thinking of making the move off campus? Stephanie Adamec, Director of Off Campus and Commuter Affairs, tells you about her newly created position, and the services it offers students who choose to live off campus.
Tell us a little about the Office of Commuter & Off Campus Programs.

The office opened in August 2011.  We provide programs, resources and information to students who live in off-campus residences. Approximately 950 students reside in off-campus residences within walking distance of campus. We also offer programs for students who commute to campus from home. These students typically live with family and commute to the University.

When do students move off campus? Who is allowed to live off campus?

Students typically move off campus in their junior or senior years. Students are required to live on campus during their first two years, unless they are a local commuter student.  Anyone is allowed to live off campus as long as they meet the two-year requirement in their freshman and sophomore years.

Why do students elect to move off campus?

A main reason students choose to move off campus is to gain more independence. By living off campus, students enter a different phase of life in which they have the opportunity to acquire additional life skills, like managing a household and setting a budget. Students also move off campus to seek more privacy and space.

What are some of the challenges associated with living off campus?

The pros of living off campus are related to the challenges.  Being independent means a student has more responsibility; students have to budget their money, manage relationships with housemates and neighbors; prepare meals, clean and tend to laundry without the amenities offered on campus.  Students also have to make more of an effort to stay connected to what’s happening on campus.

How can a parent support a student who wants to move off campus?

When a student decides to move off campus, parents can help them prepare by asking questions that help students reflect on their own needs and preferences, and also help them gain a full understanding of the responsibilities that go along with living off campus. Does your student feel ready to take on additional responsibility while continuing to focus on academics and other activities? If so, has he or she considered what is required of her as a lease signer or discussed a plan for jointly paying the rent with roommates, setting up accounts for television, internet access, etc.

Parents can also encourage students to take advantage of the resources that the University offers though my office, such as informational programs that show students what living off campus entails, as well as budgeting and apartment comparison worksheets. We also provide support for students who currently live off-campus by serving as a resource for local ordinances or laws and by guiding them if they are having issues with roommates or landlords.  We also have access to an attorney who can perform lease reviews or consult about off-campus property issues, both free of charge.

What are the responsibilities of students living off campus? 

Students have to adhere to the student code of conduct, on and off campus.  Students really have to be aware of the local and state laws that apply to off campus living, along with Scranton city ordinances surrounding noise, trash, littering and the like.  Students must understand all that governs off-campus living.

Finally, what is the best part about your job at the University?

Interacting with students and helping them to have a positive experience at the University is the most rewarding part of my job. Whether it’s advising a student group, presenting informational workshops in residence halls or helping a student with an issue off-campus, knowing that my office is here to help students succeed makes me excited to come to work every day.

Resources to Share with Your Student:

Office of Off-Campus and Commuter Students
Find information for your student on signing a lease, local laws and ordinances, budget worksheets and more.

The Office of Residence Life
Find additional information for students who plan to move off campus. Click on the Living Off Campus link located on the bottom of the left navigation.

Advantages of Living On Campus
Students can review these advantages as they consider the differences between an on and off-campus residence.

Students discuss housing arrangements by Nicolena Basso, Aquinas Staff Writer