Daniela Rambal, Staff Writer
With just days until housing applications go live, many students have already begun looking ahead and preparing for what they hope to be a very promising school year. For current freshmen, this means using their experiences from their first year to make more informed decisions on where and with whom they want to live. For upperclassmen, this means taking the coming-of-age step from suite-style dorms to the slightly more lavish and enticing option of apartment living.
Although only about 6,000 students and staff call Mason home, on-campus students agree that living at Mason gives them the opportunity to take full advantage of all the school has to offer.
Sophomore Meghan Hobson opted to have a traditional freshman experience on campus before moving off campus for her second year. “If you have the ability to live on campus, do it,” Hobson said. “It is a hub of activity and extremely convenient.”
With over 40 residence halls grouped into three neighborhoods, students are given a variety of options. So how exactly does one pick their home away from home? Fourth Estate got a firsthand look at what spaces students can set their sights on.
First up, the Rappahannock neighborhood. Most sought out for its proximity to central campus, here you can find easy access to academic buildings, convenience stores and dining. The cool thing about living in Rappahannock is that students get the choice of living in either traditional dorms such as the Commons; suites such as Blue Ridge, Eastern Shore, Dominion and Hampton Roads; or apartments in Northern Neck.
“My favorite thing about living in Dickinson is how welcoming my floor mates are,” freshman Donna Imadi said. She also added that the proximity of her dorm to her classes is nice because she “can wake up 10 minutes before class and still be on time.”
The go-to hang out spot in the Rappahannock neighborhood is Southside. “[It is] the place to go, no matter what time, ‘let’s go to Southside’ [is] always offered as a pastime,” Hobson, who lived in Dominion her freshman year, said.
When residents of Rappahannock aren’t grabbing a bite to eat or hanging out in Hanover, one might find them working out at Skyline.
Sophomore Caitlyn McMurry said the biggest advantage of living in suite-style housing is that “it’s bigger than freshman housing but cheaper than apartments.”
Adjacent to Rappahannock, you’ll find the Aquia neighborhood, located in the northwest corner of campus. This is where upperclass students have the option of living in Student Apartments, Townhouses, Rogers or Whitetop. Campus buildings closest to this neighborhood include Student Union Building 1 (SUB1) and the Recreational and Athletic Complex, better known as the RAC.
What’s unique about the Aquia neighborhood is its proximity to University Mall and Old Town Fairfax, giving older students more distance from central campus.
“Living in an actual apartment by yourself or with friends gives you a real sense of independence,” senior Adrianne Figueroa said.
Another housing option previously only open to members of the Global Living LLC and Mason’s international student, is the Mason Global Center. New for the upcoming academic year, groups of two and individuals can choose to living at the Globe for an 11-month commitment period. This is ideal for students who need housing for longer than the standard nine months. Though quite a distance from most buildings on campus, the Globe, which used to be the Mason Inn, boasts plenty of advantages.
Freshman Amanda Rodriguez is part of the Global Living LLC. She explained that the best part about it is the amenities that come with living in a hotel-style building such as “having your own bathroom, a shuttle stop right outside the building and a dining hall downstairs.”
Located in the southeast corner of campus is the Shenandoah neighborhood, which includes Presidents Park, Liberty Square and Potomac Heights. Its residents, who are a mix of freshmen and upperclassmen, are just a short walk away from Ike’s dining hall, the Aquatic Fitness Center and a few academic buildings.
“[I like] how separated it is from the center of campus and the academic buildings,” Jenna Longo, a freshman who currently lives in Presidents Park, said. “It almost feels like I’m … away from the school, but it’s close enough that I can walk to all of my classes.”
The traditional freshman halls in Presidents Park and the Commons average in the semesterly rate of $3,120.00. Suites like eastern Shore and Hampton Roads on campus are about $3,715.00 on average, including shared bathrooms and/or kitchenettes. Apartments and Mason Global Center Suites are about $4,370.00 per semester. The Student Apartments and Townhouses are about 3,715.00 per semester.
From traditional dorms to apartment complexes, Shenandoah has it all. Sophomore Emily Jakob lives in Potomac Heights said the biggest advantage of living there “is the access to a kitchen and not needing to go to the dining hall for all of [her] meals.”
Overall, the three neighborhoods of Mason housing each have love it and list it qualities to consider as students make upcoming housing plans. To plan your dorm set up ahead before move in, you can play with the virtual room set up on housing.gmu.edu.