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Feature

Students entering and exiting Centennial Hall.

Rush hour at Centennial Hall on the Twin Cities campus in Minneapolis.

Record number of freshmen living on campus

By Patty Mattern

Originally published on September 4; updated on September 8

A record number of University of Minnesota freshmen will live on campus this year. Of the estimated 5,375 first-year students, about 4,400--or nearly 82 percent--will bunk in the dorms (or more often these days, "loft" in the dorms).

The number of students choosing on-campus housing has been steadily increasing at the University of Minnesota for the last several years. In 1992, 59 percent of new freshmen lived on campus; in fall 2003, that number rose to nearly 78 percent.

On-campus living also has academic benefits. Research shows that living in University housing positively influences a student's grade point average and level of involvement in campus activities, says Laurie McLaughlin.

Laurie McLaughlin, director of housing and residential life, attributes the trend to the opportunities offered to students who live in University housing.

"On-campus residential environments today are more than just a place to eat and sleep," McLaughlin says. "Living on campus gives students opportunities to meet people, become involved in campus life and experience a sense of community on campus. Students who live in University housing feel a strong connection to the broader University community."

On-campus living also has academic benefits. Research shows that living in University housing positively influences a student's grade point average and level of involvement in campus activities, McLaughlin says.

Because of the strong interest in housing, the University is leasing space from the Days Inn hotel for a temporary residence hall this fall. The Days Inn is located within walking distance of campus and is near many of the U's residence halls.

About 100 first-year students will live in the Days Inn until permanent housing becomes available. It's not unusual for colleges and universities to use temporary housing, both on and off campus, when demand for on-campus housing is high.

"Students who were placed in temporary housing in the Days Inn in past years told us that they had a positive experience," McLaughlin says. "For students, the Days Inn experience will closely reflect that of other University housing."

A residence hall director, three community advisers, and security monitors will staff the temporary residence hall. There will also be a computer lab with high-speed Internet access and a study lounge. University Dining Service will offer a continental breakfast during the week, and students will eat their other meals on campus in any one of the six residential dining halls. The U will offer free shuttle service from the Days Inn to the Minneapolis campus.

In addition to normal residence hall amenities, students will have cable TV, and their towels and bed linens will be changed weekly. We're confident that students will find it a great experience to live at what students in the past nicknamed the Happy Days Inn, McLaughlin says. In the past when permanent housing became available, most students didn't want to leave.

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