A New Nest for the ThunderbirdsAugust 27, 2009
Now four days into the 2009-10 school year, SUU’s students are settling back in to their homes away from home. For some, this means cramming a mattress and mini fridge into a walk-in closet and for others, it means remembering to wear flip-flops in the shower. But for 266 lucky freshmen, settling in is more like breaking in, as they are the first class of residents to call SUU’s new Cedar Hall home.
And with the building’s official dedication still one week away, slated for September 3 at 11 a.m., Cedar Hall’s residents are already forming traditions and friendships in the new suite-style campus housing.
According to SUU’s Executive Director of University Housing Stephen Harrison, the most notable difference between Cedar Hall’s residents and those students in both the Juniper and Eccles campus housing is that the Cedar Hall residents are most quickly developing relationships with larger groups of fellow residents. He credits this to the common living space, which includes multiple community kitchens, television lounges and group study rooms.
Beyond finalizing floor plans and furniture selection, SUU Housing’s administrators and student leaders prepared to welcome all 876 of SUU’s campus residents, who comprise roughly 50 percent of this year’s freshman class, by gathering faculty and staff from across campus to help students move in to all three residence halls last Wednesday. Beyond carrying boxes and opening doors, these more than 250 volunteers were all excited to meet SUU’s newest students.
Of this effort, Harrison noted “It can be easy to lose focus on why we’re all here as the paperwork piles up and the heat of summer drags on, but move-in day is always a wonderful and exciting reminder of our purpose.”
He continued, “Every parent I met was very pleased to have this help and fully understood the level of commitment our community has to ensuring students feel like they belong.”
Students seem to be taking to this notion of belonging; even this early into the semester, Harrison has noticed impromptu video game competitions and groups of students gathering to eat meals or study together, which all seem to enhance the feeling of home within Cedar Hall.
Beyond the shared living space, Cedar Hall’s two buildings house 68 two-bedroom, one-bathroom suites to be shared by four students each.
Of their new bedrooms, Cedar Hall’s inaugural residents seem well satisfied, commenting on everything from the furniture selection, which gives each student a lofted bed and a desk with bookshelves, to the room size that has enough floor and closet space for students to feel comfortable relaxing in their own rooms, should they wish to take a break from the communal-styled living.
According to Harrison, the feedback he has received from both students and their parents has been positive, and he suspects this along with the overall tone amidst the residents thus far are “clear signs that the staff assigned to Cedar Hall, the building design and the residents who live there are a perfect fit.”
To see for yourself, the campus and local communities are invited to join in the dedication of SUU’s newest building, Cedar Hall, next Thursday, September 3, in the Cedar Hall courtyard at 250 South and 500 West.