There are around 5,000 resident students here at Montclair State University, which is a large number but definitely doesn’t come close to the total number of students, which is around 21,000.
Throughout the week, there are different events hosted for students, and campus life is pretty exciting. There are always a bunch of people on campus and it doesn’t feel empty at all.
Montclair State is known to be a “backpack school,” which means students pack up and leave every weekend. This cuts down the resident population by almost half. There’s a vast difference in walking through the campus on a weekday compared to weekends. Since the school is filled with mostly commuter students, when there are no classes on the weekend, the campus is pretty much dead.
One of the strangest parts about living on campus and being here for the weekend is when food becomes more limited than it is during the week. The only available spots to eat are the dining halls and the Blanton Hall food court, while the Student Center and Panera close down. This gets a little annoying because residents are still on campus, so why can’t these places be opened, too?
Sam’s Place, one of the dining halls on campus, closes at 8:30 p.m. on the weekends, and Freeman Hall, another dining hall, closes at 7 p.m. At 9 p.m., Bistro 62 opens, which is basically another dining hall where you can order your food either on GrubHub or in person and take it to go.
However, at Bistro 62, you need to use either flex dollars, meal blocks or your own funds. You are not able to use meal swipes, which all freshman residents have an unlimited supply of.
On weekdays, Sam’s Place doesn’t close until 9:30 p.m. and Freeman doesn’t close until 8:30 p.m. The weekend hours for these dining halls could probably be extended, considering most students stay up later on these days and might get hungry.
Despite this, during the weekend it can be nice to stay on campus. There are different events hosted for the residents who decide to stick around, and they’re genuinely fun. For example, this weekend there is a Friday night fire pit, which happens mostly every week, and that same night, there will also be mini-golf. On Saturday, there’s a day trip to Stony Hill Farm.
Another perk of campus life on the weekends is being surrounded by other people in your residence halls. A lot of residence halls host events for students living there to attend.
Machuga Heights, one of the residence halls on campus, recently hosted a speed-friending event that students could attend to meet new people in their residence hall. Attending these events is a great way to potentially make new friends.
Even if there’s not a lot to do campus-wise, you and your friends can always hang out and have fun on your own. The campus shuttle goes off-campus on the weekends to Clifton Commons, which has a Target, Applebees, Barnes and Noble, AMC Theaters and so much more. This is a fun perk that Montclair State has for residents, usually only on Saturdays.
Campus life on the weekends definitely fluctuates, and the level of activity depends on what events are taking place. If you don’t attend the campus events or spend time with friends, your weekends on campus will be pretty boring. The weekends are ultimately what you make of them.