Tuesday, 16 April 2024
    How student housing should evolve

    How student housing should evolve

    Student residences should be a space where, over time, autonomous student-led traditions can emerge and grow. University housing are not just empty rooms waiting to be occupied, they are homes where memories are made. Right now, USyd is not doing that, writes Kanh Tran in Honi Soit.

    There is a lack of imagination when it comes to affordable student housing and what it means to live in a communal space that’s not just a sleeping quarter. Here, I lay out some of the paths forward in thinking about what affordable and lively student housing can mean on our campus: 

    I spoke to Hanna Kwan, a third-year Media and Communications student and resident at STUCCO – a USyd-owned student cooperative founded in 1992. Prior to joining STUCCO in 2021, she lived in Arundel House and USyd’s Queen Mary Building. 

    Kwan “hated” life at QMB – currently managed by UniLodge, a third-party student accommodation provider – she felt that the building was “sterile” and “clinical” due to the lack of community-based activities beyond the occasional rooftop party. Despite being cheaper than the colleges, residences like Queen Mary are largely devoid of autonomous student-run societies and initiatives. Instead, these are closely supervised by residential managers. 

    On the other hand, at the Anglican-owned single-sex Arundel House on Broadway, life was different. Rents at Arundel currently sit at $320 per week for a shared room inclusive of meals. Faith (or lack thereof) is no barrier to living at Arundel, residents are encouraged to participate in bible study sessions and activities linked to St Barnabas’ Church. 

    “Monday night dinners were compulsory, afterwards, you had a discussion or activities not related to Christianity, but similar to youth groups,” Kwan said, describing Arundel as a small, tight-knit community. 

    Later on, Kwan feels that the anti-oppression politics, history and shared responsibilities at STUCCO align most closely to her heart. From Monday to Thursday, residents take turns to form groups and cook for everyone as part of the house’s supper club. 


    Beyond just a room: How student housing should evolve (Honi Soit)