Off-Campus Life helps students build community off campus

Charlotte Lang

While the first few months of college focus on move-in for first year and returning students, there are also resources available for students who choose to remain off campus.

Housing-related help, local cafes and events based in the Fort Collins community are just a few of the resources that off campus Colorado State University students use.

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Off-Campus Life Assistant Director Lindsay Mason said that the resources available for both on campus and off campus students are similar.

“Off campus students do have to manage travel, so they need to be intentional with managing their time,” Mason said. “For example, like on campus students, off campus students are likely to hold some type of part-time job, but one of the differences is that an off campus student is more likely to work off campus.”

Mason said that this means off campus students have to be intentional in managing their schedules so they can make it to campus on time. 

Another primary difference is that of study spots.

“All students want to be academically successful.” -Lindsay Mason, assistant director of Off-Campus Life

While there are many spaces on campus that all students lean toward — primarily the Morgan Library, the Lory Student Center and the Behavioral Science Building — Mason said students will also choose to study at local coffee shops.

The Alleycat and Wild Boar are the most popular spots, Mason said. 

“Alleycat is open 24 hours,” Mason said. “Wild Boar is also rather large and popular. Mugs and places like that are also good but not as visited.”

Other resources for students living outside of campus come from Off-Campus Life.

According to the Off-Campus Life website, the organization “helps students moving or living off campus to have a successful transition and integration into the Fort Collins community.”

This is done through programs focused on building community among off campus students and their neighbors.

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Two popular events hosted by Off-Campus Life are the Shovel Snowdown event and Fall Clean Up, Mason said.

The Shovel Snowdown event is designed for students who are required to shovel their sidewalks. Hosted this year on Oct. 2, students can visit the LSC Plaza for free snow shovels.

The Fall Clean Up event on Oct. 26 allows for CSU students to register to rake leaves for their neighbors.

“This is a resource that helps students get connected to their neighbors and helps them feel connected to the community as a whole,” Mason said. 

Off-Campus Life is related specifically to housing and understanding what it means to live in Fort Collins, Mason said. The organization does this through rental search, available apartment complex lists, roommate searches, housing fairs and other resources for those living in the city.

In terms of other resources, on campus students have access to resident assistants and staff, so their resources are more direct, Mason said. But this doesn’t mean off campus students don’t also have access to materials such as the library or the LSC.

“They have access to the same resources; it’s just about being intentional and arriving on campus to visit that office,” Mason said.

Tonie Miyamoto, vice president for Student Affairs, said some of the programs available to on campus students include learning objective programs, feedback from resident assistants and campus partners, bulletin boards and hall staff. 

“We know that as a result of these efforts, connections and resources available to students on campus, students who live on campus have higher GPAs than students who live off campus,” Miyamoto wrote in an email to The Collegian.

Mason said it’s important to not view students as solely on campus or off campus, as there are a variety of identities each student holds that influence how they may manage their schedule.

“All students want to be academically successful,” Mason said. “And they will access resources for that academic support.”

Charlotte Lang can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @chartrickwrites.