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The Kalamazoo Student Ghetto: Who, What, and Why?

Most students at WMU are familiar with the west campus neighborhoods. We spent nearly every one of our freshmen year weekends stumbling the streets of Lafayette, Greenwood, and Fratville. But what a disturbingly large amount of people don’t know is that there’s a whole other neighborhood near east campus called, “The Student Ghetto.” Hop in an Uber with us and find out some cool facts about WMU’s quirkiest neighborhood.

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Its actually called the Vine neighborhood:

Most people call it the “Student Ghetto,” but besides a rash of front porch UPS package robberies and a few broken windows after a wild weekend, this neighborhood is far from “ghetto.” It’s actually called the Vine neighborhood, and it’s been around ever since some genius SOB found out Kalamazoo rhymes with Timbuktu.

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A bunch of hippies live there:

The Student Ghetto is known for its artistic residents who can be found trading records, riding bikes, grooming mustaches, and forming shitty Americana bands in their basements. The Student Ghetto was even featured on an episode of MTV’s True Life back in 2012 after a bunch of washed-out WMU grads believed that the world was going to be re-born in the apocalypse. However, with the bohemian lifestyle comes an overwhelming amount of kindness (and by kindness we mean weed).


Not only WMU students reside here:

While a huge chunk of the residents happen to be WMU students, there are also large concentrations of Kalamazoo College and KVCC students as well. Kalamazoo College students can be found waving their fancy moneybags in the air while they play the violin to the sound of caviar being thrown off their balcony. KVCC kids can be found fighting over who gets to be first in line at the bus stop. Let’s not forget about all the townies either! There are no rules about who can and can’t live in the Student Ghetto, so it’s not uncommon for a house full of college kids to live next to a professor or elderly couple.

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The bar/music scene is wicked:

West campus has a plethora of college-typical bars, but the Student Ghetto/Downtown Kzoo have drinking establishments for all different types of crowds. From drag shows to indie rock bands to reggae festivals, the east side has it all. Of course, if you’re looking for “wooh! girls” and muscly bros, then this might not be your place. However, Kalamazoo’s craft beer scene really shines here, and a bottle of Oberon is never far away.

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Their houses are gigantic:

Students living on the west side of campus are used to living in medium townhouses/apartments, and only a spare group of individuals are lucky enough to snag a real party house. In the ghetto, nearly every house is rager-ready, fully equipped with a large porch fit for 10-foot beer bongs. There is also a large abundance of detached garages that are seldom used to house cars and usually end up with a keg or ten inside of them depending on the weekend. Porch culture is a real thing here, and you can find everything from broken liquor bottles to a full suede couch in front of these houses.


The Student Ghetto is a unique neighborhood where you can find all different kinds of people, music, and food. When you’re not dodging a loose keg rolling down it’s steep hills or running from vomit flying off of someone’s back porch, it can be a pretty cool place, so don’t be afraid to check it out!


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