Molly Nunan holding her lease. (Photo by Lorraine Jabine)

By Lorraine Jabine – Staff Writer

Many students at the University of Maine at Farmington (UMF) begin to sign leases for apartments available June 1st. On February 7th, 2012, an open house took place in the Olsen Student Center where local apartment management companies gathered to provide students with information concerning vacancies, lease contracts, and answers to questions.

It has been one of the busiest years according to an anonymous apartment contractor from Foothills Management. “Everyone seems to be looking to get off campus. Almost all of apartments were rented out for June’12-’13 leases within the first three weeks of availability,” said the contractor.

“As of January 30th, 971 students out of 2,213 are living in the residence halls,” said Peter Osborne, Assistant Director of Student Life.

“More and more students are choosing to move off campus for economic reasons,” said Emily Herrick, sophomore at UMF. “My financial aid does not cover the cost for me to live in the dorms.”

Herrick calculated the cost of living in a residence hall to renting an apartment. “My roommate and I are going to be saving about 4,000 dollars each.”

An equipped kitchen is another factor why students chose to live in apartments. “I would much rather have choices with meals than rely on the cafeteria [Aramark] selection,” said Ben Sylvain, a sophomore at UMF.

A kitchen can be more accommodating to students, especially those who have food allergies. “I’m allergic to gluten and Aramark does not offer a lot of options for me,” said Matthew Lamare.

Molly Nunan, a resident of Scott West Hall said her dorm was too cramped, “Apartments are a lot more spacious than the dorms and you have the privacy of your own room.”

Nunan is choosing to live in an apartment because of a quieter atmosphere, “The dorms can be unexpectedly loud at different hours of the night,” said Nunan. “I like to study in my room, but living in the dorms I feel like I cannot focus unless I am in a quiet environment like the library. Living in my own apartment will be a much quieter place for me to concentrate on my studies without feeling the need to vacate across campus.”

Students like Sam Smith will miss the quick walk to class, “I’ll have to set my alarm for 8 a.m. classes earlier because I have about a 10-15 minute walk to campus everyday.”

Herrick has lived on campus for the past two school years. “Living in the dorms was a great experience. I met a lot of friends and everyone was so close,” said Herrick. “But I’m ready for more independence and responsibility and I think apartment living offers just that.”