Welcome, freshmen, to your homes away from home. While many of you have already selected a residence hall or stalked your future resident assistants on Facebook, some of you have yet to hear the skinny on each particular housing site — you know, the stuff UCSB’s website won’t tell you. So without further ado, here is a rundown of the halls.
The quintessential college residence halls – Anacapa, Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa Halls – provide easy access to friends, food and classes. Located on the east side of campus, these two-story complexes are a quick walk from the university science buildings, the De La Guerra Dining Commons and the activity in the center of campus. Jason Nemirow, a second-year biopsychology major and prior resident of Anacapa said his freshman living experience was mostly positive.
“It’s probably the most social dorm,” Nemirow said. “It’s the most fun and easiest to meet people.”
However, Nemirow also said that he encountered a few distractions at Anacapa from time to time.
“It’s hard to sleep while intoxicated students are crashing into the walls, unless you have earplugs and determination,” he said.
Residence Halls Assignment Services Representative Emilio Zamorano said these particular halls have a resident-bathroom ratio of 20 to 1. While such figures might make these facilities seem cramped, the halls also provide many socializing opportunities. In the days following move-in, most students in the low-rises will leave their doors open to move things in or out. At this point, making friends is as easy as walking down the hall and saying hello.
The residents of two-story low-rises also have the advantage of being able to interact with each other simply by walking across the lawn, without waiting for an elevator or climbing eight flights of stairs. As far as interest floors go, Anacapa is home to a Scholars Floor, Santa Cruz has a Substance-Free Floor and Santa Rosa has both the Wellness Floor and the Black/African-American Studies Floor.
San Nicolas and San Miguel are two massive eight-story residence halls behind the UCen and between the Ortega and De La Guerra Dining Commons. Cassie Marks, a second-year statistical science major and former resident of San Miguel, said she chose the residence hall because of the density of people in one location.
San Miguel’s floors alternate by gender, while San Nicolas’ floors are co-ed except for the eighth all-women’s floor. While it is obviously comparatively harder to interact with other halls, the high-rises become a close-knit community in themselves.
The obvious downside of a high-rise is ascending via the elevator or stairs. While an eight-story staircase seems like a burden, the creaking elevators often encourage an aerobic workout. Marks said she found her hall’s elevators slightly unreliable.
“The elevators kind of sucked and it was pretty freaky,” Marks said. “It is the oldest dorm, after all.”
With regards to interest floors, San Miguel has the Chicano/Latino Cultural Studies Floor, a Performing and Creative Arts Floor and a Quiet Floor. San Nicolas has the Asian/Pacific Islander Cultural Studies Floor as well as a Scholars Floor.
While the Francisco Torres towers are high-rises as well, they are grouped separately because of their unique dynamics. Despite the folklore, FT was not originally a hotel, but rather a privately owned student housing facility that the university purchased in 2002. The two towers are 10 and 11 stories high, have suite bathrooms that connect to an adjacent room and house one-third of UCSB’s freshmen population.
Former FT residents claim the towers maintain a strong sense of community among residents. The residents at FT also get to enjoy their own swimming pool and gym.
However, FT’s most notable downside is its distance from campus and Isla Vista. Second-year computer engineering major Richie Runswick said the bike rides from the towers to the campus were unpleasant.
“The distance from campus was really inconvenient,” Runswick said. “I had a bike so I got used to it.”
Francisco Torres has five interest floors: Outdoor Adventure, Multi-Cultural Experience, Scholars, Quiet and Substance-Free.
The closest residence hall to Isla Vista, Manzanita Village, houses only 250 freshmen and 550 nonfreshmen. It is a series of four-story complexes with approximately four people to a bathroom. It has a nearby pool, easy beach access and the Carrillo Dining Commons – considered by many as the best dining commons at UCSB.
The biggest setback of Manzanita Village is the lack of connection between houses. Every building has a unique key, so residents have to go to the front access to say hello to the neighbors in the adjacent building. Eric Neasi, a second-year political science major, said this factor creates social burdens.
“Everything’s really disconnected,” Neasi said. “You actually have to leave your room to interact with people. It sucks.”
Meanwhile, Manzanita caters to several interests with its Rainbow House Floor, Muliti-Cultural Experience Floor, Women in Science and Technology Floor, Global Living Experience Floor and Scholars Floor.
Sorry frosh, not for you! This residence hall is adjacent to Manzanita Village and is primarily for continuing students who wish to stay on campus a little longer or who may fear the landlords and prices of I.V.
At any rate, your residence hall choice may decide some particular habits, but it probably won’t make or break your freshman experience here at UCSB. No matter which dorm you’ve settled upon, you’re sure to make friends and memories wherever you go.