Onward Debates: Which Side Of Campus Should You Call Home?

Believe it or not, it’s never too early for Penn State students to start thinking about where they’re going to live next.

With a new high rise seemingly going up every week, it might seem like there is an overwhelming number of options. These days, though, off-campus housing can be roughly broken down into two groups: downtown State College and “Toftrees,” a crude classification for everything beyond the Arboretum.

Our staffers have each prepared an address to help you find your future address.

Adam Babetski: Toftrees

A lot of students looking for housing don’t even know that Toftrees exists. You can barely see it from campus, so that’s understandable. Allow me to fill you in.

Toftrees apartments tend to be newer and cleaner. They offer more amenities than your average downtown apartment as well, including pools, gyms, lounges, even coffee bars. And since Toftrees apartments aren’t crammed into a few square miles, the rooms are bigger. By and large, you’re getting more bang for your buck in Toftrees.

There’s also peace and quiet for those who want it. I can generally finish a project in my room without needing to account for the people next to me throwing a rager on a Tuesday night. 

Toftrees’ ace in the hole is the sheer variety it offers within easy driving distance. There’s a huge golf course back here, so that’s also a pun.

Looking for something to eat? We’ve got a Panera, a Chick-fil-A, a Chipotle, and the area’s only Taco Bell, which there won’t be a vigil for anytime soon.

Need to shop? There’s a Target, a Wegmans, a Walmart, and, of course, a Trader Joe’s, far and away the best supermarket for college kids.

The only thing you won’t find on this side of town are the bars. It’s obviously appealing to live within walking distance of them, but it’s nothing a CATA bus can’t solve. The current staffing shortage aside, you can take a bus all the way home from downtown well past 2 a.m. on weekends. 

As a matter of fact, you’ll never need to drive down College Ave. if you don’t want to. That means no more unintentional street races with the dude who took the muffler off of his Chevy. 

The best part of all? Everything here is a downhill walk. Toftrees has the proverbial (and literal) high ground.

Tobey Prime: Downtown

First things first, I don’t even think this should be a debate, but because there is a lot of student housing not in the downtown area, I guess we’re just going to have one. 

I have been living downtown for the past two years, more specifically on the east side, and I have never had any complaints. Walking to classes has never been an issue, having access to great food has never been an issue, and I live right next to McLanahan’s, which has anything I could ever ask for. Plus, downtown is where all the action is! The weekends are loads of fun and I have met so many people just casually walking back home after a night out. 

Some of the biggest drawbacks to living downtown are deciding whether to put up the money for a parking spot or deciding to tough it out without a car. Without a car, you lose the luxury of hitting the grocery stores or restaurants on Atherton. Personally, I don’t have a car because living downtown takes away the need for me to have one. However, I bet many of your friends, like my own, have their own car and — with just a simple Venmo charge — will happily take you to Atherton if you desperately need to do so. If not, you could just pay a small fee to take a bus, which in the grand scheme of things, isn’t that bad.

To me, living somewhere other than downtown, or on campus, is just depriving yourself of what State College has to offer. Sure, you may be saving a few bucks for your own room and more space, but how many times has living miles away from campus deprived you of experiences you could have been a part of if you just lived on College or Beaver Ave.? 

To end my case, I just want to say: Macklemore didn’t write a song about living at Toftrees, Alight, or the Bryn. He wrote a song about DOWNTOWN! (Downtown! Downtown! Downtown!)

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