Moving off campus is one of the biggest upgrades from being an underclassman to an upperclassman here at Gonzaga. More freedom, more personal space and more opportunities all come with living off campus.
However, it is important to note that with more freedom comes more responsibility and, as an undergraduate GU student, finding off-campus housing may seem like a nightmare.
In some cases, it is even necessary to sign a lease for a house well in advance of living in it.
For example, I signed a lease for my house in May of my freshman year, over a year before our lease started.
The entire system of stress and anticipation that usually involves finally moving off campus is problematic.
When leases begin to be signed, it seems almost like a popularity contest on who found a house, who is living with whom, and who will be forced to stay on campus.
Finding somewhere to live a year in advance should not feel like a race against the clock with landlords who do not answer phones, and trying to sign the lease before another group slides into the vacancy.
On top of that, there is no guarantee that the groups that sign the lease will even be friends in another year.
While there are a few options to live in apartments, many off-campus residences are houses in the Logan Neighborhood. Most of the student leases for these houses start on June 1 and last around a year.
As the leases start on June 1, there is the awkward period between the end of spring semester until the start of the lease.
Although, once these leases do start, students must make the difficult decision about whether to find a subletter for the summer or stay in Spokane to partake in the famous “SpoSum.”
While the argument for a SpoSum is an entirely different matter, I still think there is an added benefit of moving into off-campus housing early and getting adjusted weeks or months before classes start.
Since these off-campus houses are independent from the university, it is often the duty of the student to find furniture for their new room.
While ideally the previous resident of the room would sell the furniture to the next resident, there is no promise of even having a bed the first night in the house.
In my experience, I arrived to my house with no furniture and only my meager dorm room belongings that were being held in a storage unit. As a result of this, it took many thrift store and Target trips to finally have enough furniture to feel at home.
I recommend that new off-campus residents bring any extra furniture they have from their parents’ house or ask around if any newly graduated students are selling their furniture. Facebook Marketplace is always a reliable option.
On the other hand, if a student chooses not to live in Spokane at the start of their lease in the summer, the best bet would be to get a subletter for the newly empty room.
However, not being in the house always runs the risk of paying for an empty room if a subletter cannot be found.
Even though this extra payment may seem like a burden, off-campus housing is relatively less expensive than living on campus when considering the amount of time in the residence.
For example, the price of living on campus for one semester is slightly more expensive than living off campus for six-months so there is more bang for your buck time-wise.
While in a perfect world those extra three months of rent payment would be covered by a subletter, I still think it is worth moving off-campus and potentially saving money.
As a tip, subletters can often be found in off-campus housing Facebook groups or through friends.
Also, even though it is usually more expensive, some apartments around campus are available for rent for the academic year.
Considering all the different factors, I would recommend that rising juniors spend the summer in their new residence if they are able to find a job or other summer activities.
Summer in Spokane is well worth the extra few months of rent and if you have the chance to experience it, there is no reason not to.