Mission Beach: USD’s second home

For decades, many students at the University of San Diego have called Mission Beach home. These students, usually upperclassmen, choose to move to the beach with their friends and share a house together just steps from the ocean.

Before 2015, students at USD were only required to live on campus for their freshman year. This enabled students to choose where they wanted to live after that first year. Before 2013, the main option for many students was Mission Beach, so many would move there immediately after freshman year.

However, another option was introduced to the USD community when Carmel Pacific Ridge, a luxury apartment complex, was built in 2013 right across from campus. The apartments gained popularity by providing amenities, proximity to campus, and large apartments that seemed to outshine many beach houses. For these reasons, many students choose to move in there, especially for sophomore year.

Senior Erica Shutty said she once considered moving to the beach, but she has lived in Carmel since her sophomore year.

“I don’t like the idea of people coming into my house, as the houses down at the beach don’t seem secure, and I hated the idea of having to commute to USD every day where there is never parking on campus,” Shutty said.

She also mentioned safety as another reason why she chose to live at Carmel instead of the beach.

“I think Mission Beach isn’t as popular as it used to be,” Shutty said. “I think after all the crime that happens, it is becoming a less desirable living area for students.”

Last year, a major crime occurred in Mission Beach involving a USD student. Late at night in the middle of spring break season, a USD junior was severely beat up during a fight in an alley.

There are also frequent reports of cars being stolen, assaults, and burglaries in Mission Beach. According to point2homes.com, an extensive website that gives demographic and crime statistics for specific areas, Mission Beach is slightly above the national average for yearly crime rates. That being said, however, it is quadruple the national average for automotive thefts. These crimes have not stopped many USD students from living at the beach.

Junior Barrett Thornton thinks living at Mission Beach is a vital part of USD culture.

“Mission Beach will never die, it is the reason people come to USD, to live on the beach,” Thornton said.

To his point, there are many perks of being in college in beautiful San Diego and living right on the beach with friends.

Junior Davey Andrew, who is originally from Hawaii, attested to these perks. Andrew said he loves living at the beach now that he is in San Diego.

“There is nothing like playing spike ball and tossing around the old football with the boys,” Andrew said. “The beach is more than a residence; it is a way of life.”

Many students seem to share this sentiment. The Carmel apartments have also raised their arguably pricey rent. This has caused many students to move out and look for other housing options that are cheaper and more student-friendly. Some students have moved downtown or to Pacific Beach. More often than not, if they don’t end up at Carmel or stay on campus, students still move to Mission Beach.

Mission Beach has been a staple of Torero life for decades. For the most part, that doesn’t seem to be changing.

Junior Kate Coats has lived at the beach for one semester since she returned from abroad.

“I love living steps away from the ocean, the bay, great restaurants, and coffee shops,” Coats said. “I think it is worth the inconvenience of parking, living in older homes, and commuting to USD,” Coats said.

Although the standard for college living has changed in many ways, many students at USD, seem to believe that Mission Beach living is part of USD’s culture. Despite other housing options, the beach still seems to remain a top contender for USD students.

By Lexie Fahey, Contributor