Getting Off Campus

BY EDDY SEGAL // OCT. 16, 2014 //

Have you ever wanted to get off campus without having to hitchhike or beg your friends for a ride?

We have all been there—stuck in our dorm room, wishing we had a way to get out of this red brick jungle. Luckily, leaving campus is much easier than it may seem. Here are a few simple ways for those lacking reliable transportation of their own.

One of the easiest and safest ways is the Curry Shuttle. The shuttle is actually a van that will take you to various locations, at specific times (check out the schedule, above), throughout the week. The shuttle goes to Legacy Place in Dedham, Quincy Adams T Station (Red Line), the South Shore Plaza in Braintree, and Faneuil Hall in Boston. All shuttles leave from the Student Center.

It’s free and easy. The only downside is that you’re on the shuttle’s schedule.

PHOTO BY FILIPPO/kofaku // Creative Commons
PHOTO BY FILIPPO/kofaku // Creative Commons

Now, what if you need to go to a specific place, like a friend’s house or a certain store? I would suggest taking a taxi. Bay State Taxi and Milton Cab are fine options. Another alternative is UBER.

I have used UBER, which is a transportation service that operates through a free app or normal website. You can request a pickup from a location and it even allows you to track where your reserved vehicle is. UBER is often a less expensive—and far less regulated—alternative to a regular cab company.

The base fare for an UBER ride is $2, and it’s then 21 cents a minute and $1.20 per mile. The minimum fare is $5, and people tend not to tip. The local taxi industry has little love for the competition, but the competition will likely help lower prices for riders.

The “T” and Curry

BY ALEJANDRO HERNANDEZ // OCT. 18, 2012 //

It is no secret that Curry is a world of its own – a sharp turn off of Blue Hill Avenue into a private world where the “T” doesn’t seem to run.

Curry has a shuttle van that takes students to and from the Mattapan T station. // FOTER.COM //

In my previous blog, I mentioned ways commuters could get involved on campus. This week I’ll focus on how non-driving commuters get to Curry.

Most commuters drive and park on campus. It’s great to have that ability and definitely convenient. Our campus is very car friendly and an ideal location to drive to, but what if you don’t drive?

I have tried various routes to school. For commuters without their license, though, it’s nearly impossible to get to Curry on time.

I have been a Boston resident all of my life, and public transit is something I depend on. I have been to hell and back on public transit and have relied on it to get to and from middle school and high school.

Public transit isn’t perfect in Boston, but it’s an exciting experience to commute on the T. Many people share and love their experiences. Others don’t like it too much.

I have never had a dull moment. My only wish is that public transit would reach Curry in a more accessible way.

It would not only be more convenient for commuters, but would also really connect the school. I can testify for most Boston residents that Curry would be a more attractive option if it were easily accessible.

Curry has made great efforts with the T-van and shuttles, but it only runs for so long. Staying out after 9 p.m. is out of the question without a car. In terms of commuter students, it’s not the best option.

If public transit had a bus that ran by Curry it would save commuters a lot of time. Time isn’t the only problem here, though space is another issue. The T-van can only carry so many at a time.

From what I’ve heard, Curry doesn’t intend to expand, and that’s reflected in the recent dorm overflow. It seems we have more students than rooms here, so how do we fix it? Commuters, of course.

Making Curry commuter friendly would definitely be a good thing for the college. Curry would be able to address housing issues and even increase the student body without having to expand dorms.

It’s evident that Curry isn’t completely commuter friendly, but it’s off to a good start. Commuting can be exciting when it’s not a struggle to get to and from.

From what I can see, public transit and Curry haven’t meshed yet. Once they do, not only will this campus be more connected, but a significant amount of MBTA-dependent students will be taking an interest in Curry College.

Weekend Getaway!

 BY DANIELLE HAUSNER // APRIL 6, 2012 // 

Are you beginning to get stressed out from school? Need a break and to get away with some friends? Well one solution could be a weekend getaway! What is better than packing a backpack and going on an adventure with friends?

If budget is on your mind, you may want to consider places you can get to by bus. Buses tend to be the least expensive mode of transportation. One inexpensive company is Bolt Bus. They offer great prices for trips that will take you to New York, Philadelphia, and New Jersey (for those who may want to party in a fist-pumping manner).

Those who do have the luxurious option of having cars, or friends that have cars, the opportunities are endless.  Some sites to consider are places outside of Massachusetts. New York, NY, is only a 5 hour drive; Washington DC, a 9 hour drive; Newport, RI, a 1 hour drive; Mystic, CT, a 2 hour drive; Portsmouth, NH, a 1 hour drive; Quechee, VT, a 2 ½ hour drive. Those are only a few ideas, but there are many, many more places to go explore!

A beautiful day in York Beach, Maine. // PHOTO BY DANIELLE HAUSNER

There is also the option of staying within Massachusetts borders. While Boston is Curry’s backyard, there are other great destinations. There is Northampton, just a 2 hour drive; the Berkshires, a 2 ½ hour drive; Cape Cod, a 1 hour drive; Martha’s Vineyard, a 1 hour drive +boat. There are so many choices! From the ocean to the mountains, each of these places guarantees natural beauty.

As I have sated in previous blogs, choosing a destination where you know someone you can stay with is ALWAYS a plus, and friendly on your wallet. If you do need a place to stay, try and find hostels. They tend to have a negative connotation with people in the Unites States, but like hotels, if you find the right one it will be a great experience. A great website I have used many times to find places to stay has been hostelworld.com. An important note: this website does not just list hostels, but apartments, hotels and other sleeping accommodations as well.

Take a weekend trip! You deserve it! Have fun with your friends! Go explore!

Curry College, On or Off?

BY KEVIN DIFFILY // APRIL 2, 2012 // 

Shay Sinnott had had enough. As a freshman living on campus in the fall of 2010, she didn’t get along particularly well with her roommate and she struggled to relate to many of her fellow State House residents.

But the actual tipping point came when her entire dorm was placed in “lock down” because of the misguided actions of several residents. Some students had broken into an RA’s room and tampered with that person’s belongings, leading to a strict crackdown by the school. Just one year on campus convinced Sinnott that she needed to move on.

She came, she saw, she left. Shay Sinnott decided to move off campus after freshman year rather than deal with the poor behavior of fellow students. 

“It was group punishment,” said Sinnott, today a junior communication major who has lived in an apartment in Hyde Park the past two years. “We were on 24-hour quiet hours for two weeks, with absolutely no guest privileges. I said to myself, ‘I’m not in kindergarten!’ I was 19 years old at the time, and this was the last straw.”

Erik Muurisepp, director of residence life and housing at Curry, said a bad first-year experience living on campus often sways students not to return to the dorms. In some cases, students choose not to return to the college at all. In addition, not every residence hall is created equally—some, such as 886 Residence Hall and North Campus Residence Hall, are relatively new, while others, like the Lombard, Mayflower, State and Scholars halls, are particularly dated—yet the cost is the same no matter which dorm you reside in. In 2012-2013, room and board at Curry will cost $12,760.

“The freshman dorms have a great community, but the buildings are tired,” said Muurisepp, noting that residence life has been trying to spruce up the older dorms and update amenities, such as common rooms and bathrooms, to keep first-year students happy.

“I think the experience of living on a college campus is great, but at the end of the day, some people look at the cost and decide it would make more sense to commute from home or to get an apartment with numerous people that might be a little bit cheaper,” he added.

Sinnott echoed that sentiment, saying that she saves money by living in an off-campus apartment. She also enjoys the expanded freedom that comes with living off campus, saying she can have friends over without worrying about RA’s roaming the hallways.

Like Sinnott, sophomore Tom Isom also spent just one year on campus. A native of Florida, Isom said dorm life can be difficult for non-locals because Curry’s residence halls shut down during holidays and lengthy breaks. If he couldn’t return to Florida, he often found himself scurrying to find a place to stay.

Also, “it seemed easier to live and work up here during the summer, and it just made more sense to live off campus,” he said. “It is a lot cheaper to live off campus since you aren’t forced to pay for meal plans or dorm expenses.”

But Isom was quick to note that not everything about off-campus life is great. He said he missed living on campus because of its proximity to other students and its community, which has a livelier social atmosphere than his apartment complex in Quincy.

To some degree, most Curry students have already made their bed, so to speak, for next year. Deposits for on-campus housing were due on Sunday, March 25, and housing selection—the process by which students choose which residence halls they want to live in—takes place the first week of April.

According to Muurisepp, about 60 percent of first-year students who are eligible to return to Curry choose to live on campus their sophomore years. He also said there is a decline each year in residents living on campus. Every class has an exponentially lower number of on-campus residents, which Muurisepp said is the norm at most schools. This semester, Curry houses 505 freshmen, 320 sophomores, 236 juniors and 205 seniors.

About half of Curry’s commuting population, which makes up almost 25 percent of the schools’ total traditional undergraduate enrollment, is comprised of students commuting from their parents’ homes, with the other half living in off-campus residences, Muurisepp said.

“I think it would be great if more students stayed on campus for four years,” he added. “The only concern would be available space. I think our housing is definitely set up in a way that shows we understand” approximately how many students from each class will be staying on campus each year, and how many will be leaving. The College currently has 1,430 beds, with 1,266 residents.

Like Isom, Sinnott said she actually misses certain aspects about living on campus. The biggest is community and companionship.

“My roommate is almost never home,” she said, “and it gets lonely sometimes.”

Another challenge is budgeting and making sure all bills are paid each month. It’s much different than living on campus, where you pay in full in advance.

Muurisepp added several more reasons why living on campus is beneficial for students. “Growth and development from a residential environment has been proven to produce a student who succeeds more, is engaged more, and graduates at a higher rate due to their connection with the campus,” he said. Muurisepp pointed out that such facts are based on national research, as Curry does not have substantive data for the respective graduation rates of residents versus commuters.

What it does have is 164 empty beds, which, at a price of approximately $12,700, is $2.08 million of lost revenue. To be sure, the cost of students living off campus is more than developmental.