Archive for July, 2011

Fall Opening

The Summer is almost over…  Opening is just around the corner now.  For the class of 2015, Opening day at UVa this year will either be on Friday, August 19, or Saturday, August 20.  In case you can’t remember which date goes with your room assignment, the following is the overall list of when the first year buildings open:

Friday, August 19 ( 10am – 7pm): Courtenay, Fitzhugh, Kellogg, Watson-Webb, Woody, Gooch-Dillard 381-383 & 386-389

Saturday, August 20 (8am – 4pm): Balz-Dobie, Cauthen, Dunglison, Dunnington, Gooch-Dillard 384, 385, all of McCormick Road, The International Residential College, Brown College, Hereford College.

All other upperclass housing areas open on Saturday, August 20, 8am – 4pm.

Please call us if you are arriving later than the 20th so that we will know that you are still joining us.

Please go to the Housing Division Web Site at for more detailed information about the Opening and check-in process and for any other questions you have related to housing.

Please remember than only you can pick up the keys to  your room – and you must present a photo ID when you present yourself to the staff.

I’m really hoping that it won’t be as hot for Opening as it has been here this week.  Enjoy the rest of your summer.

Location, Location, Location

Another frequent question that we receive from both parents and students is about being assigned to a facility that is “too far” from classes.  For some reason we hear this most from “engineers”, even though their classes are the closest to almost all of the first year housing, no matter where they live….  To the student body here location is a big deal throughout their career here.   We understand that.  That said, one of the facts of life is that not every building can be in the same location.

The University intentionally does not assign first year students based on their intended major.  The assignment process is based on the University’s belief and core value that for the first year, students should be assigned randomly, so that everyone gets the experience of living in a diverse community – and that includes people with different academic interests.

The general daily routine for students is that they go to the center or grounds when their classes start and return when they are finished for the day.  No matter where they live, the same bus route goes past all of the first year housing and the buses come by every 15 minutes or less – you are even able to go on-line if you have the appropriate iPhone kind of app. and it will show you exactly where all the buses are on their routes so that you can go to the bus stop when you know the bus is about to arrive..  If you live in father from the center of grounds, it is more likely that you will use the bus, but if you choose to walk, it’s still less  and 1 mile and you can probably walk it faster than taking the bus.  This is a beautiful University, the walk is pretty and it’s a good way to wake yourself up before starting class.  This is not an urban area where the traffic discourages walking.  Bikes are also an option.  If you live in Hereford or Kellogg, you can get a good downhill run on the way to class if you want.  It’s really not a big hardship and the distances aren’t enough that it is an issue unless you have a medical/mobility limitation.   Even if you lived off Grounds, there isn’t any parking on the center of grounds.  most students walk or take the bus wherever they live.  As first years you are closer, in general, than most other students are.

Preferences v. Guarantees

We are receiving a fair number of calls and e-mails with questions about housing assignments today.  One thing that seems to be a theme in some of the calls that people seem to feel that by stating a preference on their application form, that they somehow expected that the only assignment that they would receive would be the first preference they listed.  We give people their preferences as long as that option is available at the time their assignment is made, but there is a limited supply of everything.  At some point, we are no longer able to give everyone their first choice, or even one of the options that they had listed as a preference.  Stating a preference tells us what you would prefer, but there is nothing that allows us to guarantee that that’s what we can offer.  In a random selection process, someone has to get the higher numbers…  particularly when the class size is over the target.

The one thing that I sincerelyhope is that everyone can relax.  The normal progression of things is that once you move in and make friends, everything is fine and all of the little other things that people want to worry about now, don’t turn out to be real issues.

It’s July 5th – Class of 2015 Assignments are Available on-LIne after 5pm

Members of the Class of 2015,

In a few minutes you will be able to go on-line to view your housing assignment for the 2011-12 academic year.  You can access your records by going to the Housing Division web site, clicking on FY assignments and then logging in using your UVa computing ID.   The information that you can see will include your roommate/roommates if you are in a double or a triple room, your room number and address,  your roommate(s) contact information and other important details.

The University sent out a press release this morning stating that the first year class is larger than expected.  As a result of that, we do have students in triple room assignments.  If that includes you, don’t panic.  It’s not really a bad thing.  It does give you an extra person to learn to live with, but the furniture in the rooms is set up so that it doesn’t take up more space than the furniture in a regular double room.  We also only triple the rooms with the largest amount of usable space and we only triple rooms that are in suite style buildings, where there is a lounge right outside the room door.  In the suite style facilities, the groups in the suites form tight bonds because they spend a lot of their free time in that suite lounge.

As you come to grounds for Orientation you will also notice that then two new buildings in the Alderman Road Area, Balz-Dobie and Watson-Webb are not finished.  The University has been promised/guaranteed by the construction firm that they will be ready on time….  We are confident that they will keep that promise, even though the construction site still doesn’t look that promising — One factor contributing to that is that the demolition of Maupin and Webb Houses is still not finished.  Tuttle and Lile Houses have been taken down this summer, but the other 2 buildings should be down by the end of this next week.  It is/will be a little hard to visualize what the site should look like in August when you look at it now.

If you read blog posts from last year you will see much of the same content and advice as I will be repeating over the next couple of weeks.  One of the normal things that happens this week is that we will get a fair number of calls with people who have questions about wanting to change their housing assignments.  We have a lot of alums who want their children to live where they did or people feel that having a longer distance to walk to class is a major issue.  What normally happens is that once people meet the student or students that are their roommates, all  of those other concerns disappear….

The other thing that I want to make clear is that the way housing is assigned has changed.   The University feels that it is important to have the first year class randomly distributed so that every student has as diverse a living experience as possible.  That is why you weren’t able to preference a specific complex or building within the areas that are exclusively for first year students.  We are not able to respond to requests to switch to a different complex, as that would directly undermine the University’s intent for the First Year Experience.   Also, due to the larger than expected number of students in the class, we are do not have a great deal of flexibility.

We are always happy to hear from you and to answer your questions.  We can’t always however, give you the response you might want.  If what you want is a change of location, that is not something that we can probably respond to.  Please take a deep breath and try not to be too caught up on any preconcieved  ideas of what you think you need -or what others have told you need.  Every place is a good place to live and all of the students you’ll be living with are other students who were accepted to UVa just like you were.  The students in one location are just like the students in all of the other locations, so there aren’t any old stereotypes of who lives where that mean anything……   the community in each place is completely new each year and will be what you and your new friends make it.

Have a good evening.


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