Archive for May, 2010

Hereford Residential College: A Great Home for Transfer Students!

The following statement was written by Nancy Takahashi, ASLA, the Principal of Hereford College:
“If you are a transfer student and looking to join a vibrant residential community of 1st through 4th year students from across the university, take a look at Hereford Residential College.  Students choose Hereford because of its active programming and event offerings built around our themes of sustainability and cultural diversity.  We strive to create the exciting and bold new living/learning community that Jefferson envisioned in his original university.  Along with the 200 students who are a part of Hereford, we have a core of 40 faculty, grad student and community Fellows who are committed to engaging with students outside the classroom through dinners, field trips, and our wide array of short courses each semester.  As a new offering, Hereford sponsors undergraduate research grants for up to $2,000 to Hereford students who are interested in pursuing research on a self-devised topic with a faculty member of their choice.

Our spacious home on historic and spectacular Oberservatory Hill affords great opportunities to enjoy the outdoors, whether playing soccer on our play fields, studying on our outdoor tables, tending vegetable and flower beds in our own minifarm garden, or relaxing on our popular “hammock’ terrace.  Hereford enjoys close proximity to two of the university’s main fitness and health centers (AFC/Aquatic Fitness Center and Slaughter Recreation Center), the football stadium, miles of scenic hiking and biking trails on Observatory Hill and beautiful Runk Hall, the best dining on Grounds.  Many of the science and engineering buildings on McCormick Road are also nearby and reachable by an easy walk or a quick bus ride, with buses arriving every ten minutes throughout the day.  Take a look at our community and calendar of events on our website, www.hereford.virginia.edu.”

The International Residential College

The International Residential College or “IRC” is a residential college program that is focused on international issues.  Too often, we hear comments that suggest that when people read the name, they automatically assume that this is the housing option for international students.  That is an unfortunate association with the name -although the University hasn’t found a better name to describe the program.  The goal is to provide a diverse and active community where global issues and concerns are discussed.  The current make up of the community is about 1/3 international students and 2/3 domestic students.  That ratio is the same in Hereford College.

I recommend that both as a first year student and as an incoming upperclass student that you give serious consideration to this housing option.  The location of the college, on Emmet street, next to the Alumni Association and across from the tennis courts, is close to everything.  The four buildings are very community focused – the first floor in Munford was originally constructed as women’s housing before the University was coed and has large lounge and classroom areas that are utilized extensively to support activities.  The IRC is a very active and involved community.  If you look at their web site you will see student created videos that have individual students describing what life has been like for them, as members of the community.  The activities describe will include very popular yoga classes, weekly discussions about world issues (“The Week that Was”), weekly community breakfasts and study abroad trips.  The community also features as many as 35 exchange students who are here each year.

For FY students, there is room in the community for 60 (out of a total population of approximately 280 students).  It is a community that you can join and remain a part of all 4 years.  The upperclass students can help you with your adjustment to the University in ways that only a peer who is a couple of steps ahead of you can.

The staff of the College are always eager to answer your questions about life in the community.

We Welcome Your Comments

As you read the information contained in this blog, please let us know if the information that has been posted raises any questions for you.  Please also let us know if there are topics or subjects that you have questions about that we have not addressed yet.  We will use your comments to guide future postings.  Thank you.

Language House Program Opportunities

In the listings of On Grounds Housing options, you may notice that there are several facilities listed as Language Houses.  The University of Virginia has made a commitment to the development of language skills by creating 10 different language immersion programs.  These are small living communities where students are expected to speak and practice the language of the program.  There are separate spaces for the German House (located with in the Bice House apartments), the Russian House, the French House (La Maison Francaise), the Spanish House (La Casa Bolivar) and Shea House.  Shea House is our newest language house and it contains a total of 6 language groups.  These include Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Persian, Hindi/Urdu and Italian.  The Language component in each house or pod is directed by a student (graduate or undergrad) employee of the Langauge Department.  Students are eligible to apply to live in the houses after their first year and need to meet the language requirements of the Academic Department (usually a 1 year of study level of proficiency).  Student apply directly to the appropriate language department and the department makes selection decisions.  For information about a specific program, please go to the web sites of the individual departments.

Opening Day, August 21, 2010

Saturday, August 21, 2010 is Opening Day for the Fall Semester!  The announced time for Opening is 8:00 a.m.  Check-in for first year students in the McCormick Road and Alderman Road Areas takes place out in front of the building you are assigned to.  In Gooch-Dillard and the Residential Colleges, there is one general check in place for everyone, in each complex.  Please look at the Opening Newsletter on the Housing Division Web page for specific instructions and for driving directions.

My general recommendations are: 1) Get Here Early.  We have the keys and staff ready to begin before 8am.  The area on Grounds and in town leading to the residence halls does not handle the traffic well and by 9am things can be backed up.  If you are here early enough to beat the rush, you can unload quickly.  2) If you are from in-State, don’t bring everything for the whole year…  Make your life easy on opening day and just bring what you need for the first couple of weeks.  3)Make use of the Greeters to help you move in.  There will be hundreds of upperclass students here as volunteers to assist you.  Don’t be shy about grabbing a group of them and getting them to help you.  4) Be considerate of your roommate.  Make sure that you work with them to set up how the space in the room will be divided and/or shared.  First impressions are important and you want to get off to a positive start.  5) Please move your vehicle to the stadium parking lot as soon as you finish unloading.  Please help give others room to get close to unload.  Don’t wait until you finished decorating the room to come back out to move your vehicle.  6) Take your cardboard boxes out to the recyling areas.  Don’t leave any trash in the hallways.  With people carrying things in it’s a trip hazard and with everyone moving in the trash can pile up quickly.  7) Make sure that you meet your Resident Assistant (RA).  He or she is a key person in your Orientation to the University and should be able to either answer any of your immediate questions, or direct you to the resources you need.

We are looking forward to  your arrival!

If for some reason you aren’t able to come on the 21st, you can always come later.  Sunday the 22nd is a very quiet day to move in.  You may miss a few activities, but your RA and friends can help you with any information you’ve missed.

Important Dates

The following are the dates that students need to be aware of related to the Housing Reapplication process during the coming academic year.  These are the application deadline dates for all of the room sign up processes for students who wish to remain in on Grounds housing for the following academic year:

November 14, 2010:  Application deadline for Residential College and Language Housesincluding those currently residing in the residential colleges who desire a different room.

November 15, 2010: Lawn Applications available online.  This date is subject to change by the Lawn Selection Committee.

December 1, 2010: Application deadline for Rising 2nd year students. Deadline for Upperclass Students wishing to remain in the same room to sign contract and make prepayment.

December 8, 2010: Cancellation deadline for students who signed to keep the same room.

December 10, 2010: Rising 2nd year Offers sent.  Offers for Residential Colleges and Language Houses sent.

January 21, 2011: Deadline for Rising 2nd year students to sign contract and complete prepayment.

January 28, 2011: Offers sent to Upperclass students wanting a different room.

February 4, 2011: Deadline for Upperclass students wanting a different room to sign contract and complete prepayment.  Application deadline forUpperclass students living off Grounds who wish on Grounds housing.

February 7, 2011:  Future Assignment Change Request becomes available for students with a current assignment for 2011-2012 who wish to request a change.

February 10, 2011: Waiting List offers sent: continues through 5/20/2011.

February 11, 2011: Contract acceptance deadline for the Lawn.  This date issubject to change by the Lawn Selection Committee.

April 15, 2011: Future Assignment Change Request:  Last date to submit a request.  Those requests already received will be worked on until the end of May, 2011.  After that date, no changes will be made.

University Phone Removal from Student Rooms for Fall 2010 Semester

During the next month, the phone instruments provided for the past several decades will be taken out of the student rooms.  This is in keeping with a national trend that has been accelerating over the past several years.   With changes in the technology associated with cell phone service, room phones are no longer a useful amenity.  As a parent myself, I haven’t had the room phone numbers of my three children since my oldest was a first year student.  It’s tough to catch them in their rooms and many never even bother to set up the service on the phone in their room.  If they do, they don’t check it often enough to clear the voicemail box.  Virtually all students come to the University with cell phones.  We have delayed removing the room phones until the cell phone service was upgraded to insure that all rooms have service.   The many Universities that have already taken this step have reported virtually no problems with the change.  In anticipation of any needs related to this change, public phones are being re-installed on each floor so that students will all have access to a phone when they need one.  The University Bookstore offers cell phone packages, including ones where you pay as you go, or purchase minutes, and don’t sign a service contract.  There are also emergency (blue) phones in all the residence hall areas that have a direct connection to the University Police.

New Construction in the Alderman Road Area

There are currently three new buildings under construction in the Alderman Road Area of first year housing.  These buildings include two residence halls that will be 6 stories tall and house over 200 students each. In between these halls there will also be a 1 story community building.  This building will provide a larger group meeting/gathering space for the students living in the complex.  These buildings are the 2nd phase of the project to replace the suite style buildings that were constructed during the late ’60s and early 70’s.  (These buildings are still commonly referred to by students as the “New Dorms”.  Traditions are hard to change here…)  These buildings will be similar to Kellogg House, the first phase of the project, which opened in 2008.  These buildings will be finished in May, 2011 and will become part of first year housing for the Fall Semester that year.  For more comprehensive information about the project and the schedule for future demolition and construction, please go to the Housing Division web page.   This is a very exciting step forward.  The students that have lived in Kellogg these past two years have been very happy with the facility and its amenities.  These buildings also have some of the best views of the Grounds and the city of Charlottesville.

Living on Grounds all Four Years

I’d like to clearly state that there is room for all students who want to remain in on Grounds housing for all four years of their undergraduate career.  Currently, first year students are required to live on Grounds.  Second year students are guaranteed an offer of housing if they apply by the deadline (December 1st this year).  Third and Fourth year students can apply through the same lottery as rising second year students, however, if they are in a room where they want to stay, they will always have the option to re-sign to stay in the same room.

Typically, 50% of second year students, 20% of third year students and 10% of fourth year students remain in on Grounds housing.  We are fortunate that there are a variety of living options in locations around grounds to choose from.  We have apartment style options with double and single rooms, we have 3 residential college programs and 10 language house programs and one traditional residence hall option in addition to the Lawn, which is a special living option available to students in their last year of study.

Years ago, finding housing was much harder.  Over the past six or so years, there has been a tremendous amount of rental space added to the local market.  This has eased the demand for both on and off grounds housing.  You don’t have to rush into selecting anything until you are ready, despite the push you may feel in October.  We hope that you will consider all of your options and make a decision that will be a comfortable fit for your needs.

Bikes on Grounds

Charlottesville is a beautiful area and a very outdoor sports oriented community.  If you ride a bike for exercise and are interested in finding people who also like to ride, bringing a bike is a great outlet that will help you escape the Grounds and enjoy the beautiful scenery here.  If you are thinking that a bike is required to get around grounds, but it’s not something that you normally use now, I would caution you to wait and see before bringing a bike with you in August.  Too many bikes end up spending the year sitting in bike racks, unused, all year long.  The distances on grounds are not all that far.  The Grounds, by my standards, are fairly compact.  There are very few locations on grounds that are 1 mile apart.  The bus service comes by most stops on less than 15 minute intervals.  Most students go to the center of Grounds for class once a day and then return home when they are finished.  There can be a lot of traffic – especially pedestrians and a bike can be just another thing to haul around.  The other factor that limits the usefulness of bikes can be the weather.  From November – March/April, it can be a little less than comfortable to ride, when you are just dressed for attending class.  Walking and using the bus service are simple and convenient and are an efficient way to get around for most people.


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We hope you'll find helpful information on the Housing application and assignment process. Send us questions at housing@virginia.edu and we'll answer them here.