If you’re a student at the University of Maryland (or if you’ve even only visited its campus) you know that the housing there blows. The town of College Park doesn’t exactly lend itself to a multitude of housing options – drive down the infamous Route One and you’ll see dilapidated hotels cramped on top of each other with the occasional busted strip mall thrown in between or, even worse, you’ll see what you would think should be a shining beacon of student housing off in the distance in the form of high rise luxury apartments. Except oh wait – rent in apartment complexes like The View and The Varsity can run upwards of $900 a month NOT including utilities.
To put that into perspective, my rent here in New York City (one of the most expensive cities in the world to live in) is around $1,100 a month after all is said and done. That’s literally only about $150 more than it costs to rent an apartment in College Park, a town that prides itself as a “livable community.” Rent in Washington D.C. is worth $900+ a month, but to pay that much and basically be living in the district’s overused septic tank? That’s a little much.
That’s not to say that I don’t love College Park, or even the University of Maryland for that matter – both are the tits. But considering that the only people who are guaranteed on-campus housing are first-time freshman it’s not exactly a stretch to say that it’s pretty easy to get fucked out of a dorm and stuck paying ball-busting rent for the next 3 years of your life.
There is, however, one alternative to selling your soul for 4 white walls or being stuck living on campus for 4 years (if you’re even that lucky):
Renting a house in the actual town of College Park.
If you’re in Greek Life, you know what I mean. Take a stroll down College Ave anytime after 11:00 on a Friday night and you’ll see students milling about dressed to the nines party hopping from one house to the next. Pool House? Mansion? Complex (RIP)? All satellite houses where students were able to rent rooms for cheaper than $900 a month. Hell, go a few blocks over past Hartwick and there’s houses you can nab with each room only being $600 a month. I spent a year living in The Varsity and 2 years living in a rental house at the intersection of Rhode Island and College – the rental house was so much better it was absurd. Cheaper, better location to campus and I didn’t have to walk more than 50 feet to roll up to a party at night.
However…this could all change come election time.
College Park’s current city council, while I wouldn’t necessarily say their stance is “anti-student” I can’t quite say it’s much more moderate than that either. Last summer certain members of the council were advocating and almost passed a bill that would’ve restricted students from renting houses in College Park. All you kids who are neither on campus nor in an apartment complex? Yep, y’all are homeless. Congratulations! Now fork over $900 to live in a crap apartment where you can’t even party. Oh, but not all of you – only some. Obviously not everyone is going to be able to afford an apartment so the rest of you can just commute. Or something. You know what it’s not my problem, you just have to leave and I don’t care where you go.
So what can the students do about it? Well for one you guys could vote in the local City Council election. There’s currently a recent graduate named Ryan Belcher running against an incumbent who not only was a proponent of outlawing students from renting houses in College Park, but who was also a vocal critic of the IFC tailgates when they were first rolled out. Anyone with an at least semi-functioning brain would’ve been able to predict that providing an on-campus tailgate space for students would help keep tailgates out of back yards in the actual town, however rather than support a viable alternative she chose to instead complain about how this wasn’t actually fixing the problem of noise, partying, trash and drunk students wandering around in public.
Surprise! Those have all decreased since IFC tailgates started, what a shocker.
University of Maryland students make up a significant part of the population in College Park and it would make sense that they should have a voice in the decisions affecting the town they live in. Ryan Belcher wants to make sure that students will still be able to rent houses while still maintaining that the local neighborhoods aren’t getting overrun with day drink debris weekend after weekend after weekend. Think getting a student on the City Council is far-fetched? Don’t be so sure — a University of Michigan student named Zachary Ackerman made it onto the Ann Arbor City Council last month purely off of student votes, even outing a four-term incumbent. If the Wolverines can do it…why can’t the Terps?
If you’re an in-state student you can register to vote HERE, however when you register make sure to use your College Park address. And for you out of state kids who are sitting there with your thumb up your ass because “Oh I’m from New Jersey I can’t do any of this bummerrrr,” you too can register to vote. Email email@example.com in order to get a registration form.
In the end, the city directly impacts you…so shouldn’t you directly impact the city as well?