Suite-style dorms: Good or bad?

Luxury, suite-style dorms seem to be ruining the college experience.

When browsing dorm options for my first year at UK, I immediately wanted to choose residence halls that were practically apartments. A private bedroom, common area and a bathroom to share between only two people. I soon realized, this was a mistake.

I lived in Champions Court I on North Campus the first year it was open for student living. Moving in made me feel like an adult who was about to embark on my own adventure, complete with my own bedroom and bathroom. I was living the dream, or so I thought.

Flash forward a few months and I was more of a recluse than I ever thought possible. My roommate and I, though we were friends and got along, stayed in our respective bedrooms the majority of the time. I did not mingle with students on my floor other than the one hall meeting I attended. Ultimately, living in this dorm style was hindering my ability to get the college bonding experience so many look forward to.

Several of my friends, who I mainly met through joining a sorority, resided in the Kirwan and Blanding buildings. When I would visit them, the environment was completely different than what I had experienced in my luxury dorm. Though they were outdated and small, they had distinct character. The bathrooms may have been communal, but everyone knew everyone and the sense of community was a welcoming feeling.

“One aspect I enjoyed while living in Kirwan 4 was how close everyone got over the course of my freshman year. We always had our doors open and spent a lot of time in our common area together,” Annah Price, interior design senior, said.

“Because the rooms were so small, it was nice to come out in the common area and hang out, order pizza, watch TV and get help with homework,” Price said.

I may have had a very different freshman year experience had I lived in one of the older facilities both my parents and my sister resided in. I lost that sense of community I might have had if I didn’t have the opportunity to seclude myself and not branch out of my comfort zone.

Many students who are currently residing in these dorms for the first time, however, are singing the praises of a life of luxury. One such student, business freshman Emma Buchanan says the newer style has helped her adjust to college life.

“Living in Woodland Glen, I think, makes college feel more home-y and comforting, which makes the transition a lot easier,” Buchanan said. 

While I understand the appeal of these newly built, luxury residence halls, not a day goes by when I look back at that first year at UK and don’t wish I had ranked my selections differently.

Currently, Kentucky offers six different room types for undergrads, spanning across 17 residence halls. These are suite-style, with either separate bedrooms, or at the very least a shared bathroom between four roommates at most. While these options might appeal to the masses, if they could experience what so many before them had in the Kirwan and Blanding complexes, they might have a different tune.  

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