The housing department at The University of Louisiana at Lafayette provides students with a variety of on-campus housing options, and as the Fall 2022 semester approaches, new students expressed their thoughts going into their first year living on campus while returning students reflected on their previous residential experiences.
Students have the opportunity to live in either a residential hall or an on-campus apartment. Each residential unit is categorized as either a suite-style unit or junior suite-style unit.
Residential halls such as Bonin Hall, Coronna Hall, Baker Hall and Huger Hall are classified as suite-style units that consist of single suites (private suites), which house two individuals who have their own bedrooms with one shared bathroom, and double suites (shared suites), which house four individuals with two of them in each of the two bedrooms and a designated bathroom for each pair.
The only junior suite-style unit on campus is Agnes Edwards Hall, which consists of single suites and double suites as well. However, each room style shares one bathroom amongst the suitmates.
Suite-style units possess and utilize amenities such as microwaves, mini-fridges and private closets, while junior suite-style units provide their occupants with vending machines and a computer lab in the main lobby. Both unit styles have either community rooms or lounges for students as free community washer and dryer areas.
According to Ashanti Anna, a UL Lafayette sophomore, living in the dorms her first year of college made it easier for her to get to class, and she was in close proximity to many on-campus places and events. Anna stayed in Bonin Hall her first year and will be staying at Legacy Park Apartments for Fall 2022.
“The longest walk I had going to class on campus was like 10 minutes on a leisure day, where I was literally just strolling,” Anna said. “I could be running late to class and get there in five or six minutes.”
However, Anna shared some of her frustrations when it came to living in the dorms and having to share washers and dryers with other students.
“It was always very crowded,” Anna said. “There’s barely ever washers or dryers open, and people leave their clothes and people take your clothes out and put their clothes in. It’s hectic in there.”
Although all students are eligible to live in the residential halls, students must have 30 credit hours or more to live in Heritage Apartments and Legacy Park Apartments, which leaves these living spaces commonly designated to upperclassmen.
Heritage Apartments and Legacy Park Apartments are fully furnished and consist of a living room, kitchen, bedroom with a connected bathroom.
Family apartments are also available as well as Living Learing Communities in Coronna Hall, where students can live with other students with the same major or interests.
Some students experienced a difference moving from the dorms to the apartments. Their previous experiences helped them know what to do when they moved.
UL Lafayette junior Tiffany Clark lived in Agnes Edwards Hall her first year, then moved to Legacy Park Apartments for her sophomore year. According to Clark, the apartments provided her with more space and a better kitchen area.
However, despite the spacious living option, Clark ran into some problems with timely maintenance requests and uncleanliness. She plans to stay in Heritage Apartments this coming semester.
“Definitely bring cleaning supplies because you’re going to need that. Bugs come easily, so you got to be able to clean up after yourself,” Clark said. “If you put in a work order, and if they don’t come right away, keep putting them in because they gotta answer eventually.”
Like Clark, Darionne Dew, a UL Lafayette senior, shared her experience with having to clean more after some items were left behind or overlooked in her apartment. According to Dew, she moved into a four-bedroom in Heritage Apartments this past year and was the first to move in, however, she ran across a broken cabinet, a leftover cereal box, a strong odor, and dirty mop bits.
Dew, however, admired the campus vibes with living on campus and enjoyed events hosted by the residential assistants (RAs). She hopes to see more of those events and engagements in the apartments as well, not just the dorms.
“It’s just a good atmosphere, and it keeps me in a conducive learning mindset because everyone is busy,” Dew said. “I would like to do more stuff that would bring people out of their rooms like movie nights, sip and paints or yoga nights.”
Along with advice such as being prepared and having items such as Uhauls for moving in and out as well as making strategic financial decisions such as saving, Dew also informed new students about some of the potential dangers of living on campus.
“There are people who steal and who are not in college, and they walk around the campus,” Dew said. “You need to watch out.”
Students begin the living space assigning process when they apply for housing through the housing portal and give their preferences for room types. They are given eight choices. Housing assignments are given on a first-received, first-assigned basis.
The housing portal opened for returning students last November and for new students last December. Room assignments that consisted of a student’s room type and suitmates information were given around July 11.
According to the Interim Director of Housing Dawn Miller, there were more students who applied for housing early this year compared to previous years. Miller shared the housing department’s efforts to get students their preferred rooms and roommates on the first try, so students do not wait too long and get to enjoy the other aspects of living on campus.
“We want to be as careful as possible because the first impression that a student has with housing is their assignment,” Miller said.
With move-in approaching, students are allowed two cars and two helpers with move-in process, where students will have 20 minutes to unload then will have to drive to their designated parking areas. Volunteers will be helping unload and bring items to students’ rooms.
Leighann Cloudet is a senior who first volunteered to help with move-in when she was involved with S.A.U.C.E. ( Students Activating Unified Community Experiences).Although she was required to participate then, she took it upon herself to sign up to volunteer every following year.
According to Cloudet, once she got there, volunteers were directed to specific areas and were given tasks such as helping students put their items in boxes, bringing the boxes to the students’ rooms or monitoring the elevators. Cloudet met one of her current line sisters when she was volunteering and didn’t even realize it. She enjoyed getting to know more students and bonding over their volunteer experience.
“It’s fun to meet new people that also go to UL that you’ve never seen,” Cloudet said. “You can end up making a whole new friendship and seeing those people on campus. I would say the only con would be being in the hot sun.”
Many new students are preparing for the upcoming semester, and even though some will be introduced to fresh faces, some will have some friends coming with them or some current students waiting for them.
Matthew Barrois, a UL Lafayette freshman, is from Slidell, Louisiana, and will be living on campus with some of his high school friends and his girlfriend. He also has some upperclassmen friends already living on campus. Barrois will be staying in Agnes Edwards Hall.
Shaniya Butler will be a new freshman living on campus, and this will be her first time living with roommates, which she’s already started connecting with. She’s interested in getting involved with many of UL Lafayette’s traditions and making her room fit her.
“I’m looking forward to being able to decorate my own space and live on my own,” Butler said.