Moving to off-campus housing is very different than living in the dorms. Students don’t have to wear shower shoes, but they do have to learn to communicate with landlords and neighbors.
According to Joshua Hafliger, the operations manager at Ideal Rentals, there are few complaints received from neighbors about student residents.
“In most owner-occupied houses, [the residents] know where they’re at, so they are a little more tolerant of students living next door and parties and things of that nature,” Hafliger said.
Hafliger said keeping the exterior of student’s properties picked up is the most significant problem he has seen.
“There’s a couple problem houses,” Hafliger said. “As long as we keep our properties maintained, which we do, I usually don’t have a problem with the owner occupied houses in the area.”
Senior accounting and political science double major Hunter Vaughn was the student representative over the summer for the West Bluff Council, a board that discusses issues dealing with neighborhoods surrounding Bradley’s campus. He said the neighborhood representatives are pleased with student residents.
“Excepting a few repeat offenders who hold frequent unsafe house parties, families and non-students enjoy the energy, enthusiasm and presence of students who live off-campus,” Vaughn said.
Finance professor Douglas Antola Cowe has lived as a neighbor to the Sigma Nu fraternity house for the past 21 years and said he has had no problems.
“I love living next to the Sigma Nu’s, ” Antola Crowe said. “They meet me every semester because they know we are going to be neighbors, and they’ve been helpful. They actually helped me carry a 500 pound bathtub as I was remodeling my bathroom.”
Vaughn also said he believes students can benefit from interactions with non-student residents.
“Although we will move on in just a few years, there is ample opportunity to get involved in a community that cares deeply about the university,” Vaughn said. “I believe that any time a student is open and helpful to their neighbors, it can only result in friendship and trust.”
However, Vaughn said the council’s president believes the dynamic between students and non-students has not always been pleasant, but it has improved over the years.
“Where [the council’s president] used to hear constant complaints of house parties and more specifically ticketed house shows, he noted students are much less disruptive, and the Bradley police have facilitated better events and relations off-campus,” Vaughn said.
Second district councilmember Chuck Grayeb said he has been working to improve the “town-gown” relationship since he was elected in 2013.
“I’ve never viewed Bradley students as anything other than a real positive for our city,” Grayeb said. “What’s good for Bradley is good for our neighborhoods, and what’s good for our neighborhoods is good for Bradley.”
However, Grayeb said students not only need to be concerned with forming relationships with their neighbors, but also with their landlords.
“We want to be sure that the living conditions for Bradley students are solid and stable and that they’re not being mistreated or warehoused by fairly rapacious slumlords who are milking properties to the detriment of Bradley students or to the detriment of the neighborhoods,” Grayeb said.