Residence halls are filled with more than just what you can see on the surface: a lounge isn’t just a space to hang out in between classes, it’s a place to form connections with other students and create a shared experience. A roommate isn’t just someone you share a space with, it’s someone who can become a long-lasting friend. The people on your floor who you didn’t know on move-in day are the ones experiencing the highs and lows of the school year alongside you.
Choosing to live on campus offers you the chance to build a stronger connection to the university and engage with the UT community. You’re steps away from your classes and the endless activities UT provides, from involvement fairs to football games.
“Most of our students who choose to live on campus again do so because of the convenience,” says associate director for Residence Life Jerry Adams. Adams has worked at UT for more than 30 years and has seen the impact that it can have on students’ experiences during their time here.
Adams explains that when living in the campus residence halls, people can make life-long friends. “It’s the friendships, it’s the community. It’s going to the cafeteria and talking for an hour; it’s grabbing coffee together or the whole floor sitting together at the football games. The opportunity to meet new people is what living in a residence hall is all about.”
“Three families of student leaders that I knew in the mid 90’s—sorority and fraternity presidents, student body presidents—they’re all coming together for a family tour. It’s just the time friends that they make living on campus is what really makes it special.”
For Jayda Moorefield, the decision to stay on campus offered her the opportunity to meet new people, as well as the convenience mentioned by Adams.
“I am a transfer student, so it was more ideal for me to live on campus since I did not know anyone here at UT,” says Moorefield. As a University Housing as a tour guide, office assistant in Stokely Hall, and a member of a dance company, she enjoys being able to wake up a little later knowing she can walk to work, classes, or rehearsals without having to schedule travel time. “Living on campus also put me closer to resources such as tutoring and the academic success center.”
But Moorefield also explains that she felt she was not as connected to campus life when she was living off-campus. “I feel more involved in the university. When I lived off-campus, I felt that I was always missing out on the activities going on on-campus. I also have gotten very friendly with the housekeeping staff and those short conversations can really brighten my day. Being an out of state student, it is nice to have a familiar face that you can always count on to be up for a conversation.”
When asked about what she would tell someone considering moving off campus, Moorefield explains “I would tell someone who is considering living on campus again to explore the living options they have on campus. If the reason they want to move off campus is for an apartment, I would tell them about the apartment styles offered on campus and how they compare to off-campus living. I would also tell them to not feel pressured to move off campus after their first year has concluded.”
A struggle you might feel with moving off campus could be the fact that your friends want to move. Moorefield says, “If living on campus is ideal for them but all of their friends are moving off campus, it may be challenging to decide what to do.” Adams explains he’s been working with a student whose friends wanted to move to an off-campus residence, but he wanted to stay. “He just loves living on campus and is going to come back for a third year. He came in freshman year by himself, met three guys and they all had a great time living together. He moved to Volunteer Hall by himself because they wanted to move off campus and met three new guys and had another great year.”
Moorefield says, “I would just remind them of the convenience of living on campus and have them weigh the pros and cons of living off campus if that is something they feel they want to do.”
The opportunity to sign up for on-campus housing for next year is currently underway, with room selection closing on Friday, February 14. To learn more about living on campus, visit housing.utk.edu.