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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Do we really need dorms here at UMass Boston?

Harbor Point, the university’s closest thing to on-campus lodging, is located not far from the campus.

It was a dark, chilly fall evening. I was sitting in the shuttle bus waiting for the driver to take us to the subway station. The bus was starting to get a bit packed as many of us can relate all too well. Students after a day of hard work were understandably eager to get home. Then, one of my professors from two previous semesters sat next to me.

I was compelled to write this personal opinion piece after our conversation which included the topic of dorms at the University of Massachusetts Boston.

Are the powers that be simply trying to provide residential facilities for students that would otherwise live at Harbor Point or are they attempting to slowly change the school into a more “traditional university”?

Does UMB need to be transformed into a more “traditional” university? Maybe, maybe not, that’s up to you to decide for yourself as students and faculty. However, if that’s the case, keep in mind that the vast majority of colleges and universities in the area are “traditional” schools. If “traditional” schools form a vast majority, should UMB become like everyone else? I really don’t know.

Here’s what I do know, UMB is a great school. I transferred to UMB from Bunker Hill Community College and I see so many similarities between the two schools. I would even go on to say that the culture and atmosphere of the two schools are identical. I’m saying all of this in a good and positive way.

In the three semesters I’ve spent here, I’ve met at least more than one veteran in each of those semesters. I’ve had as my classmates people who are old enough to be my parents, grandparents, uncles, and aunts. I’ve met people who are married with children, single people with children, or just married people with no children. I’ve met people who work full time or work part time with full time hours while balancing school at the same time.

I’ve met several people who choose to take some time off right after high school and are now back in school. Some, if not many, of these students have to help out their families.

Then there are those college kids who are not all that into the whole dorming thing and rather just commute from home. Would you be able to find these types of people at other schools? Perhaps, but that’s a stretch.

When I transferred from BHCC and into UMB, I started to see the great importance community colleges are to the community. They offer so much to local residents. Community colleges give so many opportunities to the community and that to me is extremely important. I see UMB in the same light.

I see our school as a community university. This university gives so many opportunities and advantages to the community and that is a treasure that should never be taken away.

Once you start turning UMB into a more “traditional” institution, you’re basically grabbing that treasure away from the community and putting it on a silver platter for “traditional” college kids who want to drink, smoke weed, have crazy sex, and party hard. Not to say there’s anything wrong with those things, those are great things, but you get what I’m trying to say here?

So much of the people I’ve met here at UMB are from the inner city urban areas of Boston. Many of them are from Dorchester, Jamaica Plain, East Boston, Chelsea, Revere, and Everett, just to name a few. This is just an example of how much of a community university UMB is. Diverse.

UMB has a distinct and unique culture and atmosphere that sets it apart from other colleges and universities in the area. I feel like that’s a really good thing. I don’t see it as a bad thing in any shape or fashion. I am very happy and grateful of the immense diversity we hold at this school. 

Let’s be totally realistic here, if kids straight out of high school are looking for a great dorming lifestyle, I’m sure we can all agree that these kids would be going to schools that are well known for it and not UMass Boston. I’ve been asked on several occasions whether or not I would live in the dorms if and when UMB does build them.

The whole notion of me living at UMass Boston is rather silly. I mean, I come from Chelsea and it’s not all that far from campus. It would be a serious waste of time, money, and effort, at least for me to be living on campus. If the school you’re going to school is pretty close by and accessible from home, I feel that you’re better off commuting than living. Again, that’s just me. I’m sure many would disagree with that assessment.

People say that living on campus can teach a lot about life and make you more independent. Yes, that may be very well true, but the same can be said about commuting. Commuting can teach young students a lot about the working world. Though anything is possible, I’m pretty sure your future job won’t be providing you with dorms.

I’m really glad I choose to attend UMB and I don’t regret it at all. I’ve made friends with many good people here and I’m truly thankful for that.