Off-Campus Living

Basic information

  • Owner(s):
  • Applies to:
    • Current Students
  • Approved by:
    • Student Life
  • Last updated: June 29, 2023

Many Calvin students will choose to live off-campus at some point during their time at Calvin, usually as renters in Grand Rapids and surrounding communities. This presents a learning opportunity—a chance to consider how the lordship of Christ extends to how we live and where we live. As part of a Reformed Christian community, we are called to "seek the welfare of the city" (Jer. 29:7).

Living off-campus, students will have the opportunity to live intentionally and faithfully in community—establishing and maintaining good relationships with neighbors, serving the needs of others, and experiencing the joy of being part of a neighborhood. But seeking the welfare of the city also involves sensitivity to others' needs and concerns, which translates into practical matters such as heeding noise levels and parking issues, honoring agreements with landowners, and observing city ordinances that address community welfare. As "salt and light" to our world, all members of the Calvin University community are called to be good neighbors by observing these obligations.

Grand Rapids (and surrounding area) Housing Policies

  1. Both Grand Rapids and Kentwood have zoning restrictions on the number of unrelated people (typically 4-6) living together in one rental unit. These restrictions are based on square footage requirements and are managed by the zoning staff of both municipalities. Check with your landlord to know your specific requirements.

  2. Students should properly care for their property, which includes snow removal (within 48 hours of snowfall) and lawn care (grass no longer than 12 inches). This is not only an ordinance but a way to be a good neighbor on your street. Check with your landlord about expectations and responsibility.

  3. Students should be responsible for properly disposing of trash and recycling in rigid containers, and emptying them regularly. The city of Grand Rapids has weekly trash pick-up and bi-weekly recycling.

  4. Indoor furniture and furnishings, such as sofas, may not be placed on the yard or outside porch.

  5. Students should limit on-street parking and obey all posted parking restrictions within their neighborhoods. Parking is not permitted on front yards.

  6. Students should be aware of their noise levels in their neighborhoods. Noise and music may not exceed 25 decibels. Disturbance of the peace is prohibited 24 hours each day.

  7. Students may only sleep in rooms deemed as legal bedrooms that are safe. Rooms must have finished surfaces and two points of egress.

Calvin Polices and Student Conduct Code Implications:

  1. In general, students bear responsibility to the legal authorities that govern their off-campus housing locations. These include the local police departments, city zoning authorities, neighborhood associations (where applicable), and landlords. Violations can result in consequences defined in zoning ordinances, including evictions and other civil penalties for non-compliance.

  2. The Student Conduct Code specifically lists two provisions directly applicable to off-campus living: a) the observance of local, state, and federal laws as an expectation of all students, and b) the prohibition of irresponsible hosting of events with alcohol. Calvin may investigate or follow-up on violations that are reported to the university by neighbors or local authorities. Confirmed violations could result in commensurate disciplinary action by the university in addition to the external consequences from local authorities.

  3. The university requires an accurate and current local address for all students living off campus. Failure to submit this address by the published date will result in a $50 late fee. If after two additional weeks the matter is still unresolved, an additional $50 late fee (hence, $100 total) may be added to the student’s account, as well as having a financial “hold” placed on the account. The hold will be lifted once a student reports a local address.

  4. Off-campus residents must also verify via digital signature their acknowledgement of the applicable policies and implications outlined in this document.



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