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Sophomore suites give unique on-campus housing experience

September 20, 2012

The first-ever students to reside in the Jesse H. Ames suites have started to settle in. After a year long construction project, the new building named after a former President of UW-River Falls has taken its place on campus.

The building is specifically for students who are of sophomore status and are looking for an on-campus alternative to the dorm style living that was mandatory before this semester.

“It’s completely different from other residence halls,” said Max Dalton, hall manager of Ames.

The building houses 240 residents and is separated into pods of 22 students. There are three of these pods on each floor, except for the first. These areas are only accessible to those who live in them. Each pod has a common room with furniture and a television.

The residents of each pod also share a kitchenette and multiple bathrooms among themselves. Within the pods, there are single occupancy and double occupancy rooms. The pods are mixed gender, but the rooms are situated in gendered clusters within the pods.

“They’ve got a very high security system,” said Ann Glowacki, a sophomore and resident of Ames. “In order to get to your pod, you need to go through at least two doors.” Glowacki said she is thankful for the security, but felt that it could possibly interfere with getting to know other residents. “You can’t meet as many people because you’re limited to the 22 people you live with,” said Glowacki.

Dalton said he has a clear goal in mind for his residents this year. “What we’re trying to do is bring these sophomore students and not only develop community but assist them into that next stage of their life,” said Dalton.

Ames functions as a stepping stone between dorm life and off campus living that students are inevitably bound for. “Being the first, we’re kind of the test group or the lab rats,” said Dalton.

“I feel like this is a step up,” said Glowacki. “You get to live with more people and they’re all your same age so you get to meet more people in your age group.”

Although the building is up and running, not everything went smoothly after the doors opened.

“It’s a lot of little technical things,” said Dalton. “For instance, squeaky doors because they haven’t been broken in, locks not working quite properly.” Dalton also said that card access to the pods was problematic during move in and the days following.

Glowacki said she was glad she was able to live in Ames this semester. “It’s a really cool place to live, honestly. It’s like a luxury compared to the other dorms, I think.”