Suite style dorms gaining in popularity

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Before 2004, memories of dorm living were made up of small, shared rooms, communal bathrooms and floor events organized by an RA.

In 2004, however, upper-class students got a new type of on-campus living in the Courtyards, where they could share an apartment with one or three other students, each with his or her own bedroom.

In 2010, freshman got the opportunity to get out of the dorms their first year when Knoll was built. This hall put students in a “suite” — a unit in which residents shared a bedroom with one other person while still having a common room and bathroom.

While traditional dorms still house plenty of students, apartment and suite-style housing are gaining in popularity.

Freshman Aaron Lechtenberger chose to live in suite-style housing because he said he enjoyed his experience with this type of living during an event at UNO when he was in high school — although at UNO he saw suites where each person had his or her own bedroom, and at UNL he shares a bedroom.

Katherine Kruse, who is a resident assistant at Abel Hall, said something is lost when students—especially freshmen—don’t live in traditional dorms.

“I’ve talked to lots of RAs in suite-style and apartment-style and nobody comes out of their room,” she said.

Lechtenberger, who lives in Eastside Suites, said he has met a lot of people, but he doesn’t frequently see other large groups like the one he spends time with.

He said many people go to events organized by the RA of “four west,” the west side of the fourth floor, but the residents in “four east” where he lives organize their own events.

He also said he doesn’t leave his door open because people don’t often stop by just to be social, like Kruse said she did.

“So I just figure door open or closed doesn’t really matter,” he said.

While traditional dorms still dominate on-campus living in numbers of available beds, suite- and apartment-style residence halls come closer to filling their available spaces.

Lechtenberger said it’s possible to retain the social aspect of living in the dorms while living in suite-style housing, but students may have to try a little harder.

“I wouldn’t know what the dorm life is like,” he said, “but it seems like you do need to go maybe a step further in suite life to make more friends and hang out.”

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