College administrators realize that students want more than just a cold room filled with a basic bed, desk and a closet to live in while at school. Dormitory rooms (dorms) that once resembled prison cells are slowly being phased out and replaced with cozier, multifunctional units. Although most college freshmen are still typically relegated to the older, less attractive housing on campus, they now have more options than ever before. Many on-campus housing perks include on-site fitness centers, game rooms, and group meeting rooms. Some colleges have even incorporated resort amenities into their housing packages. For example, at the University of North Florida’s Osprey Fountains, students can enjoy floating on a lazy river after a hard day of classes and homework. It’s definitely not the same dorms our parents lived in years ago! Here’s a look at some of the other options available to current college students.
1. Party-Free Zones
For those who don’t want the Animal House experience, many colleges now offer designated ‘quiet’ housing options. While most offer a floor or two that restrict loud music and other distractions during specific hours, some have gone a step further and created entire houses that are noise-free 24 hours a day. Students who want to have the opportunity to study in their own environment really appreciate the quiet space and, for the most part, the colleges report few problems with everyone abiding by the noise restrictions.
2. Affinity Housing
Bucknell University gives students a chance to live among others with similar interests and goals by offering Affinity Housing. Students interested in the performing arts can live in Hulley House, where they can rehearse, collaborate and hold group meetings. Residents often produce mini-performances, workshops, and other activities for the college, as well. Bucknell also offers Health and Wellness Housing. Residents are committed to substance-free living and create a community that welcomes healthy lifestyle choices. In total, there are eight different dorms offering specific environments that foster community growth and understanding.
3. Pet-friendly Dorms
Many colleges allow students to have small pets, such as fish or reptiles, but those with fur are often banned. For those who can’t imagine life without Fluffy or Fido, there are a few options though. For example, at Eckerd College, cats and dogs less than 40 pounds are welcome, as well as rabbits, ferrets and birds. Several other colleges have pet-friendly policies, allowing students to enjoy the companionship and comfort of their pets while getting an education. In most cases, students will need to pay a registration fee and provide proof of vaccinations.
4. Luxury Housing
Housing facilities at college campuses across the country are under new construction, taking on-campus housing to a whole new level. Colleges looking to meet the demands of those entrenched in technology have created some pretty amazing housing options, including tanning beds, state-of-the-art gyms, and cleaning services. Two years ago, the University of Michigan unveiled its $175 million North Quadrangle Residential and Academic Complex. Each dorm room in the building is equipped with wireless Internet and central air. The on-site dining hall has already been recognized as one of the best in the country, serving creative pasta dishes, lamb, and even shark! There’s even a late-night café and coffee shop, as well as an art gallery for those seeking a quiet space to study. At Kennesaw State University, freshmen actually have the opportunity to stay in a private room at the University Village Suites, a freshmen-only housing facility. Rooms include wireless Internet, all utilities and cable television, as well as private bathrooms. Of course, living in these dorms runs a bit higher than your average room, but then again, luxury is never cheap.
Recently, the University of Colorado announced it would offer housing specifically for those who are legally licensed to carry a gun. Although no students to date have registered for this option, it does signal that more colleges are aware of the changing needs of the students they serve. As more students seek housing options that fit their diverse lifestyles and needs, it will be interesting to see how on-campus housing continues to evolve and how colleges step-up to meet those demands.