This month, 544 students said good-bye to a life of room service and housekeeping, and most of them couldn’t be happier.
The students who spent their first semester at BU living in Cambridge’s Hyatt Regency Hotel and Brookline’s Holiday Inn have all moved out of the hotels, and the majority are now living in campus housing.
This midyear changeover has become routine at BU because of high freshman enrollment and ongoing renovations in the dormitories, and Housing Director Marc Robillard says that most students return to campus life with minimal upheaval.
“We know this is not what students want when they come to BU,” Robillard says of the hotel accommodations. “But they transition back onto campus seamlessly and become like every other student.”
At the start of the year, students assigned to a hotel — mostly first-years, transfers, and those assigned to dorms that are being renovated — are often concerned that living in a hotel will distance them from campus life and inhibit their ability to make friends, says Ben Champney, who lived in the Hyatt as the residence hall director for both hotels last semester. “It’s not what many of them envision when they think of a first-year residence hall,” he says. “But many of the students I talked to appreciated it more the longer they were there.”
Amenities such as twice-weekly housekeeping service are welcome, Champney says, and the Office of Residence Life makes an effort to keep the hotel residents informed about the midyear move as soon as the fall semester begins. Students also form their own residence hall associations and hold regular social events, just as their peers in campus housing do.
The biggest concern most students have upon returning to campus is a lack of choice in their options, Champney says; while Residence Life talks to them about their preferences, they can be placed only where vacancies are and rarely get to choose their roommates.
But in spite of the drawbacks, hotel life remains a popular option for some; this fall, there were several returning students who specifically requested placement in the Hyatt or the Holiday Inn. “The furnishings are a bit nicer, and there’s thicker carpet,” Champney says. “A lot of them really enjoy it."