Residential living: a corrective to care-free living

For Newman, university is a place of transition from boyhood to adulthood and therefore entails responsibilities for the maturing individual, as well as greater freedom. While providing an emancipatory experience, college life brings with it the baggage of rituals, disciplinary restrictions, spatial constraints, domestic requirements, academic duties, a daily timetable, and shared living, all of which serve a formative purpose.

There was a time when religious or charitable organisations saw the provision of student accommodation and oversight as a mission worth undertaking and a service worth providing; but nowadays attention is directed at welfare activities which are deemed to be more deserving: the collapse is both one of supply and of demand.

Concern about suitable residential conditions is not on the agenda for most students or parents; few bother to consider which arrangements might be most conducive to human flourishing, let alone where they might be found.

In Britain there is a dearth of chaplaincies and university residences along Newman’s lines – and the absence is barely noticed. Newman would have drawn attention to this, and argued that there is a need for discipline and training in that art of virtuous living which has been handed down through the generations in order for civilisation to be nourished, renewed and passed on as an integral whole.

Share This: