Many incoming freshmen have taken advantage of the new housing that opened at the University of Connecticut’s Stamford campus earlier this month.
“I chose to live on campus due to the fact I live about an hour away in addition to wanting the ‘full college experience,’” Snezana Johnson, a first semester psychological sciences major living on campus at Stamford, said. “The very possibility of me living in such an open and spacious environment with a full furniture apartment is a freshman's biggest dream.”
“It’s important for the campus because it allows for students to come to Stamford and enjoy an urban collegiate experience but with the high quality of a UConn education previously that was not available,” Terrence Cheng, Stamford Campus Director, said.
The building, located two blocks south of the Stamford campus, is comprised of 116 apartment units and currently houses 260 students, 200 of which are incoming freshmen.
"It’s great to be able to convert some of that undergraduate enrollment into residential population,” Cheng said.
Cheng said the rationale behind initiating this housing process, which has been in the works for several years, was to create a more affordable housing option for students, a majority of which had previously been commuters.
“We knew it was difficult, given the price of housing in Stamford, for students to pull that together sometimes,” Cheng said.
Johnson said she was pleasantly surprised by the space when she first toured it.
“The first tour I received in person of the residence hall put me in complete awe, shock and amazement,” Johnson said, “Moving in was even more surreal, I could not believe that this entire room belonged to just me and one of my best friends.”
Students could apply to live in the Stamford residence hall using the same process as students at Storrs, through the online ResLife system.
“The application process was extremely easy and straightforward, I simply put in my information and received an immediate response of whether or not I was accepted into the residence hall,” Johnson said.
Cheng said one of the draws of the Stamford campus is its metropolitan atmosphere.
“Stamford is a really diverse city that is less than one hour from New York City so you get to take part in not only Stamford’s multicultural, energetic environment, but you can also take the train into Manhattan and take part in everything New York has to offer,” Cheng said.
The university cooperated with the city of Stamford to move students in with as little disruption as possible.
“We had to work with the city of Stamford to figure some things out,” Cheng said. “It went very smoothly; we didn’t have any major glitches and we learned a lot (about) how to tweak it and make it a more efficient process.”
Cheng said he predicts that, with the advent of on-campus housing, the Stamford campus will continue to grow.
“I think that we’re going to continue to see a strong demand for housing, and I think we’ll continue to see strong enrollment for the foreseeable future and I think housing has a lot to do with that,” Cheng said. “I think there are many students who want to have an urban experience and I think this campus allows them to do that.”
Cheng said staff at Stamford campus is looking at how to accommodate the expected increase in students seeking housing.
“We’re going to go through the same application process,” Cheng said. “It wouldn’t surprise me if we saw a stronger continuing student demand for housing, because the freshmen who are in there now will be continuing students, so it wouldn’t surprise me if we have a majority of them who want to stay in the residence hall.”
Cheng said there are now more possibilities for students at other campuses to utilize the city access Stamford provides.
“I think it’s going to be good down the road for some of those students who started in Storrs, (who) want to do an internship at a big company down in New York and now maybe we’ll be able to accommodate that,” Cheng said, “I almost think we might see a trend in a reverse campus change where students from Storrs might want to take advantage of Stamford.”
Cheng said he is excited about the new opportunities this development will create for students.
“I think it’s just going to open up a lot of doors for us to be even more flexible and serve even more students and put them in a position to succeed, so it’s an exciting time,” Cheng said.