August 8th, 2012

The Campaign at Work: Medical Student Residence

A new living space for students opens its doors on the Medical Campus

Medical Student ResidenceThis fall, the inaugural cohort of tenants moved into the Medical Campus’s first student residence: a facility providing affordable housing for students who may face up to $170,000 in medical school education costs. The residence will transform the student-life experience for many BUSM students, fostering a living and learning environment that is close to campus without a South End price tag.

“With the generous support of our friends and alumni, the concept of student housing at Boston University School of Medicine is becoming a reality,” says BU President Robert A. Brown. “This facility will make the burden of a medical education a little bit lighter to carry.”

Located at 815 Albany St., the student residence is a nine-story complex with 104 two-bedroom apartments and retail and common space on the first floor. The 86,000-square-foot building accommodates 208 students. The School enrolls approximately 175 first-year medical students each year, many of whom currently commute long distances—from as far away as Rhode Island to live in more affordable neighborhoods and towns.

Karen Antman, BUSM dean and Medical Campus provost, says the $40 million project is the result of the BUSM Dean’s Advisory Board’s commitment to decreasing the cost of attending BU’s medical program (among the 10 most expensive nationwide). Affordable student housing seemed an obvious solution, as other urban medical schools have taken the same step.

A fundraising campaign for the residence has raised $11 million through donations from hundreds of alumni, parents, and friends—including lead gifts from MED parent Sherry Leventhal and University Overseer Shamim Dahod (CGS’76, CAS’78, MED’87) and her husband, Ashraf—to be used in part to keep rent in the new building as low as $800 per month.

The new residence hall is located just two blocks from BUSM and Boston Medical Center, making it extremely convenient for BUSM students. “I am well aware of the challenges faced by our students,” says Dean’s Advisory Board Chair Leventhal, who has two daughters with degrees from the School. “This new facility eliminates some of the logistical challenges, and lets our students concentrate on their studies.”

Dean Antman anticipates that this facility will also foster an “esprit de corps and sense of community” among medical students, who are competitive by nature. “Medical students spend an awful lot of time studying, and they don’t get to see a lot of other people and do a lot of other things,” says Antman. “Having a place where they will be able to mix at the beginning of their time on campus and make friends while they are studying is just an incredible advantage.”

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