Many students are enjoying the freedom of living in off-campus housing, though some are unclear about how they can contribute to their new localities and enjoy positive relations with neighbors.
Approximately 22,000 students live in off-campus housing locations in the City of Boulder and beyond. Off-Campus Housing and Neighborhood Relations offers programs and advice for students to aid them in off-campus living, such as legal advice, Ralphie’s List and how to work with landlords.
Susan Stafford, director of Off-Campus Housing and Neighborhood Relations, said students can take steps to improve relations with their neighbors.
“I tell students that the first thing they need to know is who is living on their street,” Stafford said. “We certainly encourage students to introduce themselves and exchange contact information, especially if they’re having a party. That way neighbors know they are approachable. Students who try to cultivate a relationship with the neighborhood tend to have a better experience.”
Stafford said that it’s important for students to participate in the office’s party registration program in order to avoid tickets and fines, which is done by sending contact information to the Boulder Police Department dispatch.
“If a neighbor has a problem with noise, they can file a noise complaint with Boulder dispatch,” Stafford said. “If that address has a registered party, Boulder dispatch will call them and give them twenty minutes to disperse it. The police will not give a ticket if the students disperse the party.”
Last year, 385 parties were registered with Off-Campus Housing, Stafford said, and 23 houses received warnings, but none received tickets.
Alexis Winer, a 21-year-old senior political science major who is the CUSG director of City and Neighborhood Relations, said conversation is a vital part of living in a community.
“Though there are exceptions, interactions remain fairly minimal on the blocks of The Hill,” Winer said. “When you build relations, you can live in a much more civil and courteous manner.”
CUSG and Off-Campus Housing hosted a neighborhood dialogue for residents of the Hill to help build relationships between neighbors.
“We hope to host several throughout the year,” Winder said. “The more you know your neighbors, the more mutual respect will be developed.”
Students often associate the Hill with frequent parties and a wild atmosphere, and the most common complaint that the Off-Campus Housing Office receives for the area is for excessive noise, Winer said.
“The rumors about parties are true,” said Nicholas Kimbro, a graduate program teaching instructor. “I intentionally live a bit further north, like up around Glenwood, so it’s not quite as bad.”
Kimbro said that he would appreciate having a warning from his neighbors before any party goes down.
“It wasn’t irritating enough for me to say anything, but it wasn’t like they came around and gave us notice either,” Kimbro said.
Gyumin Youm, a 19-year-old sophomore biochemistry major living in North Boulder, said that even living outside of the Hill, the majority of her neighbors are students as well.
“My neighbors and I talk from time to time,” Youm said. “I don’t have many interactions with non-students.”
KC Becker, a Boulder City Council member, said that the council receives complaints about disruptive student behavior in neighborhoods “in waves.”
“Frequent resident complaints are trash, noise, graffiti, general house appearance and not taking care of yards and parties,” Becker said.
According to a CU Police Department news release in May, one student’s behavior led to a dangerous situation where a homeowner on College Avenue shot a female student intruder after she entered his bedroom and would not acknowledge demands to leave.
“It may seem like a no brainer, but follow the law,” Winer said. “It is important that students be mindful of behavior and how it may be affecting our community.”
Winer strives to maintain the Hill’s bright atmosphere.
“Keep the Hill looking vibrant, get to know your neighbors, be respectful of current residents and student neighbors living around you,” Winer said. “Enjoy living in one of the greatest cities in America.”
Anyone living on the Hill seeking help with a neighborhood problem can contact Alexis Winer at Cusg.email@example.com.
Party registration can be completed in the Office of Off-Campus Housing in UMC 313.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Roxanne Smith at Roxanne.firstname.lastname@example.org.