More upperclassmen, local students living on campus at NSU

Two roommates standing together in their residence hall room

ABERDEEN, S.D. – When ShyAnn Springer and Jennem Woolever became roommates as freshmen, the selection was made at random – but it worked out so well that the Northern State University seniors have chosen to live together every year since.

Each of those years, Springer and Woolever have opted to live on campus. The students say it’s both a convenience and a way to more easily be involved at Northern.

“I don’t have to worry about driving and the weather outside, and it’s also convenient when I have unexpected extra time that I can just go to my room,” said Woolever, a senior music education major from Grand Forks, N.D. “Or if I forget something it’s not that big of a deal because I can run and go get it. Another benefit is that I’m close to whatever is happening on campus.”

Springer, a senior English secondary education major from Bradley, said living on campus allows students to be more involved and worry less about being late to classes.

“If I didn't live on campus, there are also many people that I would not have met,” she said.

More upperclassmen are living on campus overall, said NSU Director of Residence Life Marty Sabolo. Northern has seen an increase of 29 percent since fall 2016, before Northern’s three new residence halls opened: Great Plains East, Great Plains West and Wolves Memorial Suites.

Many students have said that the new halls impacted their decision to live on campus, Sabolo said. One reason is that on campus, they don’t have to pay monthly bills like they would off campus. Also, the suite-style rooms in Great Plains West and Wolves Memorial Suites offer the comforts of an apartment with the benefits of being on campus, providing students a nice transition between traditional college living and off-campus living.

On-Campus Experience a Draw

Though Springer and Woolever now live in Great Plains West, they said their choice was based more on the overall on-campus living experience than a specific hall.

As a music major, Woolever said, she never leaves campus anyway, and it’s cheaper since she goes home to work every summer instead of living in Aberdeen all year.

“For me, it was mainly how convenient it is to just walk wherever I want to go,” Springer said.

The on-campus living experience is also drawing more local students to the residence halls, with a 56 percent increase since fall 2016.

“It’s the activity that happens at night, the relationship-building and the conversations that happen in the halls,” Sabolo said.

It also makes it easier to be involved, since students don’t have to leave campus after classes and then come back for evening activities and events. 

Amazing Community on Campus

NSU sophomore Dylan Unruh is from Aberdeen but chose to live on campus – his freshman year in Great Plains East, and this year in Wolves Memorial Suites.

“The main reason I chose to live on campus rather than at home was I wanted to experience college like everyone else was going to,” said Unruh, who is majoring in instrumental music education. “I knew I would experience more convenience living on campus, in addition to actually feeling what it is like to be a Wolf. The community that I felt while living in Great Plains East was amazing, especially as I was living in the Honors Program pod, which surrounded me with students with similar academic interests and drive.”

Unruh said he is definitely more involved at Northern because of his choice to live on campus. That includes involvement with the Honors Club and serving as treasurer, and future president, of NAfME, the music education club on campus.

“I enjoyed living in the halls so much last year that I chose to be a resident assistant this year and am now a part of the biggest group of people that help build community on the whole campus,” he said. “Because I am an RA, I go to even more activities than last year and even hold some of my own.”

For local students unsure about living on campus, Unruh’s advice is: Just do it.

“Once you're in the community, you get stuck to it,” he said. “The feeling of having your own space out of your parents’ home can be very rewarding, and if you connect with your roommate like I did, you can make a lifelong friend.”

More Advice for College Students

When Springer and Woolever first lived together, they clicked pretty quickly.

“We were both kind of shy at first but we became really good friends really quickly,” Woolever said.

For other college students, Woolever’s advice for being a good roommate is to be honest.

“If something bothers you, tell them upfront and right away because letting it fester will not solve any problems and will just make it worse in the end,” she said. “Roommates are a team so you have to work together.”

While it might be easier to live with someone you already know, Springer said that would mean missing out on many new experiences.

“I strongly encourage everyone to do random roommate placements or to request international students,” she said. “You can find some of the best people in your life randomly.”

About Northern State University

Northern State University is a regional university that offers outstanding academics and exceptional extracurricular activities at an affordable price on a safe, welcoming campus. Northern State recently announced its Educational Impact Campaign, with a goal of raising $55 million for a new South Dakota School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, new athletic and recreation fields, and an on-campus regional sports complex. Once the campaign is complete, NSU will be the recipient of more than $100 million in privately funded building projects and scholarships within a decade. To learn more, visit NSU Admissions.