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First-year students consider location, social atmosphere when choosing dorms

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Charles B. Aycock Residence Hall was temporarily named Residence Hall One by the Carolina Housing Residence Hall Renaming Committee.

First-year students at UNC have options when choosing a place to live on-campus with a total of 37 residence halls to pick from. 

There are 24 residence halls on North Campus and 13 on South Campus, as well as the off-campus Granville Towers complex. 

Allan Blattner, executive director of Carolina Housing, said approximately 77 percent of this year’s first-year students elected to live on campus. According to a Carolina Housing data sheet, 72.9 percent of those first-years requested to live on South Campus while 27.1 percent requested to live on North Campus. The remaining 23 percent of the first-year class lives in Granville Towers.

First-year student Amy Hyde and her roommates chose to live on North Campus. She said their choice boiled down to location.

“After doing some research on the housing website, looking at the maps of campus and where everything is, we just decided that North Campus would be our best bet in terms of being close to our classes or Franklin Street,” she said.

First-year Connor Sasser lives in Granville Towers and agreed that location is a big consideration when deciding where to live. Sasser said Granville’s proximity to his class buildings and Franklin Street makes the location ideal.

“I like the location a lot,” he said. “It’s near everything. I looked at South Campus and it’s kind of far from everything — classes, restaurants, everything going on.”

Though South Campus residence halls are near the Dean E. Smith Center, they are furthest from the main academic quad and Franklin Street. First-year student Hayden Kizakevich, who lives on South Campus, said she learned to use the bus system because of this.

“When it's a little warmer outside I don't mind a walk, but I have definitely become educated on all the buses too,” she said. “CH Transit and TransLoc are my lifesavers.”

North Campus residence halls are older and smaller than South Campus residence halls. South Campus residence halls were built after 1961 and offer 4,885 beds in total.North Campus halls were built before 1953 and offer a total of 3,257 beds according to Carolina Housing. Blattner said South Campus' larger housing capacity, along with its three high-rise residence halls designated only to first-years, naturally means more first-year students will live there.

“Hinton James, with 1,000 beds in it — a quarter of the first-year class lives there, whether they want to or not,” Blattner said.

Hyde said she made some concessions for North Campus life. She said she knew that first-year North Campus residence halls have hall-style bathrooms, while first-year South Campus residence halls and Granville Towers are suite-style.

Because of its larger residence halls, Hyde said she considers South Campus to be the “social hub” for freshmen.

Sophomore Jarret Patton lived on South Campus as a first-year and chose to live there again as a sophomore. He said South Campus has a more community-based environment.

“Outside the dorms right here, there's basketball courts and places to sit around,” he said. “People are always doing something."

North Campus residents live closest to Lenoir Dining Hall. Lenoir’s upper level features a more traditional dining hall buffet, while the lower level has outposts of Franklin Street staples like Bandido’s, CholaNad and Mediterranean Deli.

South Campus residents live closest to Chase Dining Hall. Besides its traditional dining options, Chase hosts a Port City Java and a Subway. Chase also has longer hours than Lenoir, offering meals until midnight on weeknights and staying open later than Lenoir on the weekends.

Kizakevich said she notices when Lenoir is closed because Chase is more packed as students from North Campus go down to Chase.

While location, atmosphere and food access certainly influence dorm selection, many students also consider personal costs.

Both North and South Campus residents in double occupancy rooms will pay $7,366 for the 2023-2024 school year, according to the Carolina Housing website. First-years in Granville Towers will pay a minimum of $12,540 for the year, according to the Granville Towers website.

"Student perception and therefore how we assign the spaces has changed over the years," Blattner said. "We try and just keep up with that as best we can."

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