UNA students enjoy residence hall’s ‘hotel-like’ amenities

Junior Sumit Kapoor (left) and freshman Tyrone Yarbrough shoot pool in the common area of Olive Hall Jan. 19. Residents enjoy spacious common areas, free cable television access, video games and Wi-Fi in the residence halls.

by News Editor Anna Beahm

With the completion of the second freshmen-only residence hall, Olive, over the semester break, freshmen like Greg Wright and Katherine Earnst are able to live in what they call a “hotel” experience.

After freshmen filled the capacity of Mattielou Hall at the beginning of the school year, all other freshmen moved into Rivers Hall until the completion of Olive Hall. Earnst takes this difference in stride.

“I got the Rivers experience which was a little bit of a different animal than living in a really nice residence hall,” she said. “So, I get to appreciate everything in Olive. Everyone in Mattielou was spoiled with everything.”

Rivers Hall, like Rice Hall — an upperclassmen dorm — features communal bathrooms, study rooms on every odd-numbered floor and an area with a kitchen, television and pool table called the Mezzanine, more commonly known to residents as the “Mezz.”

Transitioning from these features to Olive’s seemed luxurious, Wright said.

“We don’t have to wear shower shoes,” he said. “It’s so weird. And it’s something as simple as waking up when you’re cranky and tired and not having to see everybody walk into the same bathroom and enter your personal space. You can just be by yourself. It’s so different. It’s like staying at a hotel.”

Despite upperclassmen wishes for residence halls like Mattielou and Olive, Senior Resident Advisor Kate Partain said there is a reason freshmen receive this luxury.

Many students have questioned why freshmen got to use the new dorms instead of upperclassmen, she said.

“It’s because university residences implemented the freshman live-on requirement for the first time,” Partain said. “We wanted to give them incentive to. They deserve a better space if it’s going to be a requirement.”

Junior and Olive Hall Resident Advisor Jake Davis said he is most excited about the lobby.

“On the Mezz floor (in Rivers), no one went there,” he said. “All that’s there to do is to watch television. Now, we have this whole game area. We’re going to have arcade machines put in some time. People are going to be able to socialize and hang out downstairs, which kind of takes away from people being loud or rambunctious up where the rooms are.”

But Olive is no different in terms of regular complaints the RA’s hear, Partain said.

“The building (is) getting used to having people in it,” she said. “It’s the same (complaints) with Mattielou at first.”

Partain said regulating the water temperature, air conditioning and getting the Wi-Fi running is part of making the building livable for students.

Wright and Earnst are also learning the ropes on what to and what not to bring to their new home.

“Don’t waste your money on Command strips because you can’t use them — they’ll strip the walls,” Wright said. “And don’t try to sneak in a (Glade PlugIn) because all the outlets are upside-down. They got smart with that.”

As for making the room feel more at home, Earnst said the more light-weight the better.

“Bring things that are really light to hang, otherwise it will fall on your head in the middle of the night with painter’s tape on the wall,” she said.