Students Have Mixed Reviews of Brand New East Campus
American University’s multi-million housing project finally opened after a series of delays to students who are disappointed with the final result.
AU Housing and Residence Life announced in Spring that all sophomore could move into the East Campus halls as of Fall 2017.
Without the hassle and fuss of freshman move-in day, sophomores eagerly and effortlessly moved into East Campus by mid-August.
“I was super excited to have East Campus at my disposal but the sophomore housing applications filled up so fast I got stuck in Hughes” said sophomore from California, Andrew DeCarolis.
The brand new halls - Constitution, Federal, and Congressional - all have unique aspects to introduce to East Campus: Constitution Hall having a student convenience store, Federal Hall having a specific East Campus package room, and Congressional Hall having a personal gym for student athletes.
The conversations of AU campus revolved around these new amenities with talk of the private bathrooms and bigger bedroom space in comparison to Anderson or Letts halls. Of course, not being forced into triples was just another plus of East Campus as well.
Some students claimed that East Campus has improved their AU experience: “ I get a full night's sleep without 2 a.m. AP Style fire alarms, don't have to share a bathroom with 40 people, and it’s fun getting to explore a new part of campus,” said Sarah Fontaine, a sophomore from Massachusetts.
Alternatively, other students realized that while the spacious aspects of East Campus are appealing, they miss a few dynamics of the older dorms.
“I feel like I'm more likely to do my work in my room and therefore on time but I also feel way less social,” said Catherine Masters. “Like a lot of it is just the difference between not living in a freshman dorm anymore so I’m not sure it’s something the school can control.”
Brandon Ermer, sophomore student from Utah, agreed.
“This isn't really a complaint but Anderson Hall felt a lot more communal,” Ermer said. “I guess that had to do with the fact that we shared bathrooms so the social interaction is kind of a blessing and a curse.”
Acknowledging the differences between freshman year to other years can be a key element regarding students’ complaints of East Campus. Complaints of East Campus include but are not exclusive to: the Constitution Hall’s 6th floor laundry room not working into the second week of classes, the completion of the student convenience store being delayed, or the length of time it takes to cross the street on Nebraska Avenue towards main campus.
“If I were to improve anything about East Campus, I would have a better way of transporting across Nebraska Ave because it is such a busy street especially in the morning during class so a bridge or tunnel would make the commute to main campus much easier,” said Zach Vallese, a sophomore from New Jersey. “I believe it's ultimately necessary for it to be an AU Housing issue. But I would definitely support a student fundraiser for this improvement.”
The greatest grievance among sophomores has been the price increase of East Campus. While some students decisively feel like they are finally getting some bang for their buck with AU, others find that the price of East Campus does not properly correlate to the amenities.
Stephanie Hernandez, class of 2020 student president, commented that it “made me realize the division within social classes at AU. And also allowed to me appreciate my privilege more. I have more accessibility to commodities many students do not have. Close to classes, affordable meal plan and a nice upperclassman status.”
Whereas Sarah Fontaine argues that “I think for me it’s worth it since everything is brand new… but I also think that high housing costs are an issue in general for people who want to live away at school and in D.C., it’s not easy to find an affordable option off campus.”
Concerns of East Campus’ social scene (or lack thereof) as well as minor delays in providing amenities for students has been a topic of discussion for the sophomore class of 2020.
The bigger rooms and private bathrooms come with a price of less storage space and a longer wait for main campus, but the new buildings have raised questions for prospective and current students of the benefits or faults of living on campus. Therefore, while some students are in love with the recent extension of American University’s dorms, others believe it is up to the students to make these changes.
Vallese suggested, “I believe it’s not ultimately necessary for it to be an AU Housing issue, but I would definitely support a student fundraiser or organization for improvements.”
Interviewed students the week of September 4 about thoughts of East Campus upon returning to school.
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