There is that old saying that home is where the heart is, but in regards to residential housing on a college campus, home is where there is a space left open that you can afford.
For most freshmen, like Miranda Jones, an undeclared major from Decatur, it is their first time away from home, and there is a mixture of excitement and fear.
“My best friend and I are roommates,” Jones said. “I was excited to be able to live with her, but nervous at the same time because I was going into a new environment.”
Besides getting into college, finding out where you are going to live is the next important aspect of entering into the world of a university.
Finding the right dorm not only impacts the freshmen, but it is an obstacle that all class ranks have to face when it comes to the annual housing applications in the spring.
With some of the more recent additions to campus, such as Trojan Village, the Newman Center and the new residence hall, there has been some gripe from the student body concerning the available space and the cost of these new dorms.
“We saw a huge influx of freshmen this year,” Sara Jo Burks, assistant director of housing and residence life, said about the increase in students. “You’ve just got more people coming to college than years ago.”
Trojan Village allows for students to have their own individual bedroom units in a large dorm that is shared with other roommates — and Burks said she has heard positive feedback from students after it was built.
“What we saw more than anything else is that people wanted an individual bedroom.” Burks said. “A lot of people are used to living in their own bedroom at home; a lot of them are used to having their own bathroom at home.”
“They’re not used to sharing a living space,” she said.
Newman does not provide students with individual room units, but there is moderate privacy in these dorms and they are still somewhat more furnished than other suites.
The new residence hall offers students individual units that include a bathroom, bookshelf and, most notably, a smart flat screen TV.
Also, this new building holds two tornado shelters, which, in light of recent events, makes this dorm all the more appealing to students.
Are these new dorm styles really all that special in comparison to the older dorms offered on campus?
Well, according to Burks, the most popular dorm on campus is Clements Hall, a suite-style co-ed dorm that was renovated several years ago.
“Clements is very clean, and we love the suite style because it gives you the privacy of not having to share a bathroom with the whole hall,” said Jones, a Clements Hall resident. “It is also close to the dining hall and the quad.”
Traditional housing, as defined by the University and by Burks, is housing that requires residents to share a community bathroom. Hamil Hall, a female-only dorm, and Gardner Hall, a male-only dorm, are the only two that are classified as traditional housing.
The rest of the residence halls qualify as suite-style rooms, like the newer built residences, but are much older.
“I picked this dorm (Clements) because I thought it was cleaner and more up to date than some of the other, older suite-style rooms,” Jones said.
The newer residence halls offer more privacy than the older suites, but Burks said she fears that this might do harm to those who are introverted.
“The only concerns I have are that if you’re an introvert, that you may get in that room and you might not get out and socialize, and have that full experience,” Burks said.
At the moment, it is hard to determine which residential style, whether classic or new, is better for a student to live in since this will be the first time anyone has lived in the new residence hall, and it would be unfair to already deem it one way or the other.
Complaints about the new residence hall not being completed have already circulated around the campus, and on social media.
“There’s a few little odds and ends that they are still working on,” Burks explained. “But it’s totally livable; all your furniture is in there.”
I learned from speaking to Burks that, while there are still issues with some things not working or needing fixing — not just in the new dorm, but in others as well — the university has only a few days before classes begin to fix all that it can for incoming students.
Over the summer break, Troy University hosts a variety of camps, as well as the Special Olympics every year, and those who participate in these camps reside in dorms during their stays.
Burks said that the school attends to the most urgent requests first; for example, the student with the broken air conditioner while it’s nearly 100 degrees outside will hold a little priority over the student with the bent towel rack.
While it is easy to complain, students should understand that, like the construction with this new dorm on campus, the housing process takes time and might not always meet our expectation of perfection.
Regardless of all the issues, moving into a dorm still carries the sense of adventure for all students. For seniors, when they open the doors to their rooms, they know that it will be the last holding place for old memories, and for freshmen it will be opening the doors for making new ones.