MSU Wild

A student leaves the Strand Union Building on a sunny Thursday afternoon, Feb. 18, 2021, at Montana State University.

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Montana State University’s student government is considering creating a centralized office to help off-campus students find and secure housing and access other resources like its food pantry.

The resolution to create an Off-Campus Life office in the Strand Union Building was introduced during the Associated Students of Montana State University’s Thursday evening meeting.

“It seems pretty well received,” said Atticus Cummings, ASMSU senator and sponsor of the resolution, along with co-sponsors Ellie Jackson and Nicholas Fitzmaurice.

The Off-Campus Life office would bring together different resources in one centralized place for students who are looking to live outside of university housing, have lease questions or need food assistance.

“When students move off campus, for most people, it’s the first time they’ve seen a lease or lived outside the home or campus dorm …. There’s a lot of pieces that need to fall in place,” Cummings said, adding it can be especially difficult considering the housing market in Bozeman in the past year.

The resolution outlines how certain services like the Bounty of the Bridgers food pantry, emergency housing program, legal services and a program to help connect potential roommates would all be housed in the Off-Campus Life office.

“If you have to go all over campus to pick this thing up or go see that person, it’s just a lot and if people are already juggling school schedules and work schedules, it’s kind of too much,” Cummings said. “Let’s put it under one roof and make it as easy and streamlined as possible.”

There is already a potential space in the Strand Union Building set aside for the office, Cummings said. While he didn’t have any specific numbers on funding, the resolution supports the allocation of funds toward the office. It likely wouldn’t be solely funded by ASMSU money, he said.

“I anticipate ASMSU putting funds into both the construction of it and the ultimate staffing of it,” he said.

The office would also potentially have rental listings of places that are available.

The resolution also outlines how the space could provide students living off-campus with resources on recycling, composting and saving energy, tying into sustainability goals.

Cummings said he was hoping the office could work with rental agencies frequently used by students to make sure they have recycling included. He acknowledged it might be a long shot but said he would like to see rental agencies that are working to be more sustainable prioritized.

Cummings said he’s watched friends go through the process of looking for off-campus housing and it can be mentally taxing. The goal of the off-campus life office would be to make that process easier, he said.

The ASMSU will likely take a vote on the resolution at its next meeting on Thursday.

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Liz Weber can be reached at lweber@dailychronicle.com or 582-2633.

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