OCHO provides activities, services to off-campus community

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The Off-Campus Housing Office (OCHO) is a resource that assists Suffolk students with their off-campus living search and experience. OCHO is available to help the student community with all aspects of off-campus living including getting involved with campus life, finding roommates, signing a lease and generally understanding what having your own apartment entails.
The office also provides student commuter programs and services that are designed to help students regardless of where they are located in the city. OCHO can discuss anything from roommate issues, to general lease questions, to what you can expect to pay, along with any other questions students and parents may have about their housing situations. With its year-round open door policy, Suffolk students, along with their parents or roommates, are invited into the office with any questions that they may have.
OCHO has generated an updated website (offcampushousing.suffolk.edu) that allows students to find potential roommates, apartments, sublets, and even furniture within the Suffolk community through message boards. Aside from these message boards, students can be linked to trusted realtors.
“This year, the city of Boston and Mayor Menino have been cracking down on landlords that are taking advantage of students and their naive knowledge of what they should expect from housing in the city of Boston,” said OCHO Coordinator, Jeffery S. Morris. “A lot of students think that because Boston is a historical city, that a hole-in-the-wall apartment at a high cost is acceptable.”
Students are beginning to discover neighborhoods like East Boston and Cambridge, which are currently up and coming popular hubs for student living due to their affordability.
“The experience of living off campus provides you with a bunch of new responsibilities, and is an advantage to students. They are making their way into adulthood sooner rather than later,” said Morris.
OCHO’s  Student Ambassadors, four individuals serving the off-campus student community, have been noted to be the off-campus residential assistants.
“They represent a student voice for the OCHO office,” said Morris.
OCHO strives to assist students living off campus feel involved in the campus and community activities.
“Students typically like to live in Cambridge and Allston because they are young people places, whereas Beacon Hill and the North End are more conveniently close by,” said junior Sean McEvoy. “Living on your own off campus is a huge responsibility. It prepares you for the real world.”
Secretary of the Commuter Student Association (CSA), sophomore Grace Agosto and other members aim to connect commuter students by providing them with events and socials with hopes that students will get to know one another.  The Commuter Student Association meets twice a month, the next meeting being held Tuesday October 13th in Donahue 637, welcoming all students to join.
“Try your best to get involved in at least one school program around campus. Even with homework and other things you have to think about, it’s hard to get involved. You can’t think of commuting as a bad thing. Most times I don’t feel like I commute because I am involved in so many different things around campus,” said Agosto. “The bus can be entertaining at times, and it is also a lot less expensive.”
Every month, OCHO hosts free cooking classes for students where they can learn how to make ethnic home cooked meals. The most recent Cooking 101 event celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month with close to 60 students in attendance. Thursday, October 6, OCHO will host the second annual Campus Crawl for students, which will teach students about good neighbor policies and provide a few pointers on how to have fun without using alcohol.
OCHO is also preparing for students currently studying abroad and will return to Boston in the spring seeking housing.

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