OSHKOSH - University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh students will have a new option for housing this fall. The campus's Newman Center, which provides Catholic ministry to students, has opened an apartment complex. The Newman Center leased the property about half a mile off campus from a nearby parish.
It's rare for public college students to have the option of faith-based housing. That's what the Newman Student House will be.
"This is the first of its kind in Wisconsin. So it's really cool we get to start it at UW-Oshkosh," explained UW-Oshkosh senior Alissa Becker.
"A place where, not just Catholic students, but any students that feel called to community life, that feel called to a faith-based living arrangement, they can come here," explained Father Jason Blahnik, Catholic Campus Ministry Director at UW-Oshkosh.
Blahnik told FOX 11 students living at the center will be asked to share a meal and prayer once a week. He said the residents will also need to volunteer for a local charity every month, adding it's an important part of living faith.
"To go out as a community to serve those in need," said Blahnik.
The apartments will be drug- and alcohol-free.
Becker told FOX 11 UW-Oshkosh has gotten a reputation when it comes to drinking. She said it will be good to have a place where students don't feel peer pressure.
"I think it's a big statement that the university was supportive of this Newman Center expansion over here with that as well. That's really cool," Becker explained.
A student manager will live on-site as a residential advisor.
"He's there for students if they ever have questions or concerns," said Becker.
Blahnik told us the apartments aren't meant to cut students off from those with different beliefs.
"We'll they're going to meet people on campus, you know? I don't think anybody's going to live in a cocoon here, I hope. Even when you meet somebody, encounter a person who, maybe there's differences, you always treat them with love and generosity and dignity," he said.
Becker said living like-minded peers makes the college years easier.
"If you surround yourself with that group of friends, everything else in college kind of falls into place," she said.
There is space for between 14 and 28 residents. The building will be co-ed, but individual apartments will be designated for men or women only.
So, far three students have committed.