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Housing department to move more first-year dorms to North Campus in 2017-18

A Christmas tree lighting ceremony took place on Sunday, Nov. 27 at the Univeristy Baptist Church's Memorial garden in Chapel Hill.
A Christmas tree lighting ceremony took place on Sunday, Nov. 27 at the Univeristy Baptist Church's Memorial garden in Chapel Hill.

The first-year experience may look different come fall when UNC Housing and Residential Education blurs the lines between North and South campus.

Rick Bradley, associate director of housing, said the department will implement several changes and improvements over the course of the next year, largely due to student suggestions. 

He said more residence halls on the North campus lower quad will be designated for first-year students. In addition to Stacy and Everett residence halls, which became first-year dorms this year, Lewis, Aycock and Graham residence halls will house first-years for the 2017-18 school year. Hardin and Craige North residence halls will be for upper division students. 

“We’re trying to get a mix of corridor style and suite style for both upper division and first-year students based on interest,” Bradley said.

Emma McCarthy, a junior exercise and sport science major, said although she understands the benefits of providing a variety of options for students, she has mixed feelings about the changes. 

“I know that a big part of my experience as a freshman was living on south campus and making friends in the dorm, making friends in the dorms surrounding me and in the quad areas out front of the dorm and going to the dining hall on south campus where the majority of the freshman class ate,” she said. “And that’s kind of sad to think that might not be a thing anymore.”

In the 2017-18 school year, Mangum Residence Hall will have a new gourmet kitchen and Grimes Residence Hall will have a large-scale modern lounge. Additionally, residence halls will remain open over Thanksgiving and spring break.

“All of these things tie back to the surveys that we do with students,” Bradley said. “That’s what we look at to determine these changes, based on what students are telling us.”

Steven Wiley, the coordinator for housing assignments, said UNC Housing is actively trying to get sophomores plugged into on-campus housing. While most outreach is geared toward first-year students, he said there is a real need to continue providing for students as they tackle their second year of college. 

“When you live off campus, you can distance yourself from all those opportunities,” he said. “The longer you live on campus the better.”

Bradley said residents are more likely to graduate on time, interact with professors in office hours and participate in campus activities such as sporting events and clubs if they live on campus.

Joel Gillison, a first-year public policy and peace, war and defense major living in Craige North, said he applied to live on campus again next year. 

“I just really like living on campus. I’d rather be here in the atmosphere,” he said.

Emilee Dorantes, a sophomore psychology major living in Morrison Residence Hall, said she has enjoyed living on campus because of the proximity to the dining halls and gyms, but she would like to see more parking on campus. 

“I know some of the sophomore and junior dorms don’t have any parking, so as upperclassmen, you want that," she said. "That’s a huge aspect of it."

Although the deadline to participate in the room selection process passed over the weekend, the housing application will stay open until fall 2017. So far, the housing department has noted 130 more housing applications than last year.

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