UB Today Alumni Magazine Online - Spring/Summer 2002
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Living on Campus 2002
Inspirational speech finds a modern echo
Architectural Illuminations

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University Residence Halls and Apartments

Dorm life memories

photos courtesy of the University Archives

I enjoyed living in Tower Hall. My room was on the 10th floor and the view was great. We could never go up or down the elevator without stopping at every floor. Pranksters always used to press the floor buttons making the elevator stop at each floor … it was quite annoying but we all got used to it. Tower Hall didn’t have a cafeteria, so it was a pain to walk in freezing weather to Clement Hall for meals. Anyway, it was a great experience living in Tower Hall.

Yusuf Baxamusa, B.S. 1974
Concord, CA

I began my tenure at UB as a freshman living in Clement Hall in the fall of 1973. With only one North Campus residence hall completed, students were required to triple up in rooms designed for two. I moved into a cinder block-walled room with a bunk bed and a single bed. My roommates and I shared a bathroom with three upper-level women in a connecting room. Because of the lack of space, we made good use of the common lounge area. Clement was a coed dorm and everyone mixed easily. Studying and cooking, group meals and late night gatherings took place there. Friends in Goodyear had weekly Sunday potluck dinners that were fun to attend. I still remember the giant pans of lasagna that seemed to come out of the oven most Sundays!

Helene Blieberg, B.A. 1977
New York, NY


I was in the first law school class to go three years at what was then the new campus at Amherst. In 1974–75, I lived in Roosevelt Hall. The interesting feature of this dorm was the mix of graduate and undergraduate students. The most annoying thing was all the walking that had to be done to get around, as there were no straight corridors.

Harold Boxer, J.D. 1976
Mount Kisco, NY

I lived in Ellicott for three years—one in the Porter Tower and two in Wilkeson Quad. Both had their pluses and minuses, but I am glad I wound up in the Porter Tower for my freshman year.

Unlike the four-story Ellicott quads, which have a U-shaped design and contain dozens of rooms on each of the coed floors, the towers had eight or ten rooms to a floor, and each floor was single gender. I believe the close quarters (e.g., one bathroom) made the residents more mindful of their neighbors. I remember making friends with almost every guy on the floor, as well as some of the women upstairs, with whom we shared a lounge.

Greg Gattuso, B.A. 1991
New York, NY


I lived in Clement Hall for three years, 1965–66 through 1967–68. There was a nice lounge on each floor, which we used occasionally ... inside it was a typing room, where I spent many a night frantically trying to finish a paper that was due the next day. We also had dining facilities right in our hall, which was great ... except that for the noon meal on Sundays we were required to dress up! Boy, times have changed! We also had a curfew, which was extremely ineffective. I stayed away all night many times, because bedchecks were few, and you couldn’t get back into the dorm if you stayed out past 1:30 a.m. on Fridays or Saturdays, 11 p.m. on weekdays.

Carol Goodson, M.L.S. 1972 & B.A. 1970
Carrollton, GA

Governors was my first and only dorm home at UB, from which I sometimes cross-country skied to engineering classes in the nearby spine. It was quiet and great for studying, but I probably spent more time rambling around Ellicott. Still fairly new, rumor held that its ground-floor design was intentionally fragmented to prevent 1960s-style mass student protests. Its most attractive feature, though, was the Pub, where hundreds of frosh could be found partaking of their newfound freedom on any given night.

Scott Landress, B.A. ’86 & B.S. ’84
Mill Valley, CA


Living on campus 2002

With a long waiting list, UB's new apartment complexes are home to nearly 2,000 students

Story by Ann Whitcher

South Lake Village is an inviting setting for upper-level undergraduates and some graduate students in apartments of varying sizes.
photo: Frank Miller

    Imagine yourself a few years back as a UB student, when you shared cramped quarters in a dorm, or rented an apartment several miles from campus.

    Now move to 2002. As a UB upper-division student, you are living in a one-bedroom apartment overlooking Lake LaSalle. Take a moment to enjoy a quick meal prepared in your spiffy kitchen, equipped with all the modern conveniences. Then check your e-mail and download your course assignments from a bedroom computer equipped with its own high-speed Internet connection.

    No need to hurry, though. With your apartment located only a few steps from the university's main academic core—you can saunter, if you like, to class, the library, the gym or whatever campus activity sparks your interest.

From left: Heather Billings and her roommate, Jessica Carson, enjoying the fireplace at Hadley Village.
photo: Rhea Anna
    Since 1998, when it opened its first apartment complex, UB has joined a growing list of universities recognizing that traditional dormitory-style housing has lost its appeal for students—especially juniors and seniors—and that offering attractive alternatives to dorms improves the quality of student life and bolsters recruitment and retention efforts. This initiative has increased university housing by almost 50 percent in less than four years.

    The new apartments (available only to upper-level undergraduates, or graduate, professional or married students, depending on the village) offer unprecedented variety in ways to make a home. They include apartments for graduate and married students, and four-bedroom apartments shared by four busy undergraduates, who may desire more social interaction, yet crave privacy from time to time, too. All the new apartments feature modern appliances, central air conditioning, connections to the university's computer network and cable television. Not surprisingly, each of the complexes has a substantial waiting list.

    What's more, the new apartments, built without any cost to New York State taxpayers, have had a transforming effect on campus life, including heightened attendance at campus events, a noticeably accelerated tempo to campus life and—perhaps most important—have fostered the congenial environment that defines "home."

South Lake Village: Darrell Cook and Jennifer Carr in the South Lake Community Center.
photo: Rhea Anna
    "The new apartment-style residence villages we've constructed at UB over the last several years do much more than offer a roof over the heads of our students," affirms UB President William R. Greiner, undeniably the university's most passionate advocate for apartment-style housing over the past decade. "They create warm and welcoming student neighborhoods that ensure that UB is a place where students come to live, as well as to learn. These villages are helping to transform our campus into a thriving, vibrant, residential academic community. Our students, be they residents of these new apartments or commuters visiting friends on campus, benefit from the sense of community this new housing creates—as does our entire university—and that community spirit translates into more dynamic classroom interactions, and a stronger UB."

    Through rents charged to students, enough money is available annually to pay bond amounts and also fixed costs, including the salaries paid to a small staff who manage the individual apartments. Making use of private funds, three of the complexes (Creekside, South Lake and Flint Village) were, or are being, built through a collaboration with the University at Buffalo Foundation and the UB Alumni Association. Hadley Village was built through special state legislation allowing the UB Foundation to have a ground lease to build these apartments. Flickinger Court was a less complicated project, having been built on property already owned by the UB Foundation.

    UB has led the pace among U.S. universities, opening a new complex (each with its own community center) annually since 1998. In fact, the speed and overall success of the project has attracted so much interest from colleges and universities that UB's Office of Student Affairs established a limited-access website for the benefit of higher-education colleagues wanting to learn more.

    "Coming here is a complete turnaround," says Jessica Carson, an international business major from Brooklyn who spent four years in a traditional dorm before moving to Hadley Village, where she also works as a "CA," or community assistant. "Here you have your own sink, your own bathtub. You appreciate having your own space, so you don't mind taking care of it," she says, pointing out that apartment residents do their own bathroom-scrubbing and garbage-toting. According to Carson, campus apartment dwellers are more than happy to trade the custodial services offered in dorm bathrooms, for the lifestyle independence they enjoy in their new surroundings.

Flint Village: First-year law student David Teigman enjoys the comfort of his Flint Village apartment.
photo: Rhea Anna
    At present, 1,934 UB students are housed in campus apartments; the number will rise to 2,166 with the opening of Creekside Village on the northern edge of the campus. Also part of UB's growing residential community are 5,007 students—primarily undergraduates—who live in traditional dorms located on both campuses.

    The apartments have developed rapidly. Flickinger Court, townhouses for graduate and married students, opened in 1998 on Sweet Home Road, at the periphery of the North Campus. Hadley Village on Rensch at Hadley—four-bedroom units for juniors and seniors—opened in 1999. South Lake Village, situated on the south shore of Lake LaSalle and housing upper-level undergraduates and some graduate students in apartments of varying sizes, opened in 2000. Just last year saw the opening of Flint Village, offering a mix of housing for juniors, seniors and graduate students. Creekside Village, two-bedroom furnished apartments for graduate, married and professional students, is scheduled to open in fall 2002.

    "What's unique about Creekside is that it's the only townhouse arrangement on campus," says Associate Vice President for Student Affairs Clifford B. Wilson. "It's also the first dedicated graduate housing on campus. It is really meant to address a critical need that we have had for housing for graduate, professional and married students."

    Across the apartments, students sign 10- or 12-month rental agreements. Roommates must be of the same gender, unless they are married. Cohabitation with the opposite sex isn't allowed in dorm rooms either, but coed dorms themselves are permitted, because of the availability of separate bathrooms on each dormitory floor, in compliance with state law.

Flickinger Court: Ana Santander and her husband, Fanor Balderrama, with their children, Ana Paola and Fanor Alberto.
photo: Rhea Anna
    By the time students reach their junior year and become eligible to apply for a campus apartment, they're more than ready for the change. "As of early April, a total of 849 people had been turned down for apartments for the fall 2002 semester," reports Joseph J. Krakowiak, director of University Residence Halls and Apartments, which manages both the dorms and the apartments. "What's happening is that the culture no longer believes that it's two years [in a dorm] and you automatically leave for an off-campus apartment."

    The reasons for choosing an apartment are as diverse as the students themselves.

    At 24, South Lake Village resident Jennifer Carr, a junior legal studies major from Syracuse on an R.O.T.C. scholarship, thought "transitioning to the apartments on campus would be easier than adjusting to a dorm." The pluses of her apartment include "the convenience of living on campus and being near my classes and the gym. It saves a lot of time in commuting; now I can just take the campus shuttle to classes instead of battling for a parking spot."

    Apartment rental fees range from $430 per person, per month, in a four-bedroom apartment, to a single bedroom apartment at $578 per month; these figures include all utilities. Flickinger Court apartments, on the other hand, are leased as a unit ($770 per month for a furnished apartment, utilities not included). The rents are competitive with the going rate for apartments in the region. For example, a one-bedroom unfurnished apartment in a suburban Kenmore complex at $450 a month offers cable and security, but not the other amenities of a UB campus apartment. As for the comparison with dorm costs, consider that a UB student now pays $4,628 over two semesters for a single dorm room. However, residence halls are not open between semesters, as are the apartments, nor do they offer the personal space cherished by the campus apartment dwellers. (For more information on the pricing structure for all apartment units, including the new Creekside Village, go to www.student-affairs.buffalo.edu/housing.)

    Students interviewed seemed more than willing to pay the freight, always citing the amenities and the convenient location. "The rent charged for the apartments is more than fair considering the services provided," says South Lake Village resident Darrell Cook, an M.B.A. student from Big Flats, New York, now in his second year at South Lake. "The university apartments include all utility costs (heat, air-conditioning, electricity, water), they are furnished and they include completely modern kitchens. They also offer excellent security, resident parking and shuttle service, and free cable TV and Ethernet service. Local apartments may offer lower monthly rent costs, but they rarely include the additional utilities and services offered by these apartments."

Hadley Village: Jessica Carson (left) and Heather Billings enjoy the amenities of a Hadley Village apartment.
photo: Rhea Anna
    Students and their parents find the security advantages a big plus, especially vis-à-vis housing options off campus. "A campus community is always more secure than the surrounding area," says Vice President for Student Affairs Dennis R. Black. "This is the nature of a higher education institution; there are some obvious security programs and advantages that are simply not available, or as accessible, in a larger community. For instance, we have our own dedicated, trained, fully professional [security] staff, as well as education and prevention programs, state-of-the art locking systems, and access to the campus blue light phone system."

    A total of 29 children now live at Flickinger—a statistic that reflects UB's changing resident demographics. Among the resident families are Ana Santander and her husband, Fanor Balderrama, from Bolivia, both pursuing Ph.D.s in epidemiology in the Department of Social and Preventive Medicine. They live in Flickinger with their children, Ana Paola, 9, a student at Heritage Heights Elementary School; and Fanor Alberto, 17, a senior at Sweet Home High School. "We are really happy with the apartment," says Santander. "It's not big, but it's not too small, either. It's quite comfortable and very secure."

    Flickinger has a decidedly international flavor, with families from 16 countries, in addition to the United States. "We are very good friends with our neighbors," Santander says, "although we don't see each other too frequently during the week because of studies. In the community building, Laureen [Complex Director Laureen Killenberger] is always preparing various events, so we can meet with our neighbors and feel more welcome."

    Residents of the apartments appreciate the proximity not only to classrooms and libraries, but also to gyms, concert halls and entertainment centers. Indeed, the presence of a varied student population with increased numbers of students living on campus has made for a more lively environment and, reportedly, better attendance at athletic and other campus events.

    "The increased housing on the North Campus makes our two main athletic venues—UB Stadium and Alumni Arena—tremendously accessible to a larger part of our undergraduate population," says Director of Athletics Robert Arkeilpane. "In the past year, we have seen an all-time record for student attendance at both football and basketball events, which we feel is a direct correlation to our students' proximity to these venues, as well as [indicating] an overall increased interest in athletics by our students."

    "People are more aware of what's going on—it changes their perspective, to live here rather than to come here," agrees music department concert manager Phil Rehard, in the midst of a successful concert season, with attendance up significantly.

    Beyond the impact on formal events, however, lie the imponderables of simply having a place of one's own so close to the classroom. "My apartment allows me to start my day at my own pace," says Darrell Cook. "I can check my e-mail and watch CNN for headlines, all before I leave at 8:30 a.m. I can easily walk to campus and attend class, or work and still have my apartment nearby for lunch, materials or just privacy for relaxation or study. In the evening, I can prepare meals, relax and entertain comfortably."

    Parents like them, too. Reached at her Manhattan office, Lisa Rosenthal, mother of Courtney Weiser, a South Lake Village resident and senior speech pathology major, says the apartments offer her daughter and others "a great transition from living in the dorm situation to living in the real world. They have to cook, they have to clean for themselves, it's the beginning of life on their own." The apartments, she says, "are gorgeous. The kids have their privacy, yet have the advantage of living with other people, too."

    With reactions like this, it's not surprising that the apartments have proven helpful to university recruitment as a whole. Says Director of Admissions Regina S. Toomey: "UB's commitment to building and maintaining on-campus apartments is a powerful recruitment incentive. They show us to be contemporary, or ahead of the curve, in trends in on-campus living. Our consumers are very tuned in to the living environment and make assessments among the environments of the campuses that offered them admission. Few campuses can boast lakeside living—right?

    "We also know that it is important to retention to encourage on-campus living," Toomey continues. "If we can provide the best of both worlds—the opportunity to have apartment living autonomy and the conveniences and services of on-campus life, we have hit the ideal. These students are more likely to remain committed to the UB experience. This, in turn, results in greater retention and academic performance."

    And while freshmen do not have the option of living in the apartments, and many transfer students cannot find a space on their arrival, Toomey believes that "prospective students know that if they enroll they can get in the queue—a future reward, if you will."

    "This has been an exceptional opportunity," says Nils Olsen, dean of the Law School, which has three buildings in Flint Village exclusively reserved for its students—an experiment that campus officials hope to some day extend to UB's other professional schools. "We are able to bring in full-service LexisNexis right into their apartments," he says, referring to the vast legal, business and news database. "After this first year, we're planning to implement some specific student activities and services, such as tutoring for first-year students. It has been very helpful in our recruiting, particularly in attracting students from New York City. The convenience, the amenities have made the apartments very popular with our students."

    Mary Barnes, a first-year law student who is pursuing a J.D. after a nursing career and raising two children who are now college students, wanted to avoid commuting from her home in Rochester, and so sought out the privacy and convenience of a one-bedroom Flint Village apartment. "When I found out this was an option, I begged to get in," she says. "Because of the convenience and having other law students around, it's very conducive to study. Everyone else appreciates what you're going through—you're all in the same boat. The layout is ideal, you have privacy, yet you have community."

    As the university seeks to expand student living opportunities, it is also reviewing plans for the Lee Road Complex, which would add as many as 3,000 more apartment beds as well as new buildings for retail services. The goal is to one day form a physical connection between the Ellicott Complex and the university's main academic core. According to Cliff Wilson, the first Lee Road apartments could be built within a year or two, but the plan as a whole would unfold over the next decade.

    As students enjoy better housing choices, they also represent a residential community on the move, where living arrangements can go full circle. It's conceivable, for instance, that a resident could start out in an apartment, but later move to a dorm. Young Fanor Alberto Balderrama, for instance, has applied to UB as a freshman for the fall 2002 semester, hoping to study engineering. Would he prefer to remain with his family at Flickinger, should he ultimately enroll at UB? No, says his mother, with a clear understanding of young people. "My son really wants to live in the dorms with the other freshmen, so that he can have the full experience of living with the other students, enjoying all the activities [that are available], not just going to class."

Ann Whitcher is editor of UB Today.

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