On-Campus Housing: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly


The Marriott Honors Community with the South Campus Housing & Dining project construction behind it (Photo by Delaney Manson | The Daily Utah Chronicle)


The University of Utah’s on-campus housing applications for the 2020-2021 school year opened in February. Housing applications require students to answer questions about their preferences, including what time they go to bed, their thoughts on overnight guests and even what temperature they like to keep their room. Along with a place to live, the U also provides learning and themed communities for students with shared interests across all different housing options. Each housing offers something unique to students, and there are many options to choose from.

Heritage Commons

Originally built to house the 2002 Winter Olympic athletes and located in North Campus, Heritage Commons includes Chapel Glen, Sage Point and Gateway Heights. Gateway Heights is the only gender-segregated dorm on campus. 

These dorms do not have kitchens and require a meal plan. They have a wide variety of options, including triples, singles, doubles and economy doubles, and for the 2020-2021 school year, are only open for freshmen.Katrina Radmall, a freshman studying psychology, lives in Sage Point. She said she chose this option because the rooms were laid out as suites and it offered single rooms, and she wanted her own space to work.

Radmall said that she dislikes how far of a walk it is from the Peterson Heritage Center, which houses the main dining hall on campus. Additionally, she said she wished she knew about other options on campus to choose from because she only got to see one or two different styles in her tours and orientation. Radmall said the price of a single room at Sage Point, which also requests the resident to buy a meal plan, is worth the cost for her because everything is included — laundry, electric, heat, A/C, water, etc. The biggest benefit for Radmall is that things on campus are more accessible for her, and she thinks it is good to live on campus for at least the first year of college. She said she misses baking and having a kitchen and plans to live in Benchmark Plaza next year, which will provide her a kitchen to do so.

“I haven’t made a cookie in ages,” she said.

Aubrey Warren is an undeclared first-year. She also lives in Sage Point and has a different opinion of living on campus. Warren said Sage Point is what she was left with when she signed up for housing, because she did not get priority.

“I don’t feel like living on campus is worth the cost, not even close,” Warren said. “The worst part is having a roommate.”

While Warren said it is nice to live on campus for the first year, as one can make friends, she thinks students get relatively little for the amount they pay. Warren plans to live off-campus next year and said she thinks she will enjoy it more. Jaden Le, a freshman studying biology, said he enjoys living in Sage Point and would recommend it to others. Sage Point 811 has a gym on the first floor for all Sage Point residents.

“The best part is that we have a gym on the first floor which is nice in case of unfortunate weather or late-night workouts,” Le said. 

Officers Circle 

Stationed on the east side of campus in front of the PHC, a row of houses is lined up neatly in a semi-circle. Officers Circle consists of 10 themed houses, each one focused on some academic specialty. Students are grouped together in living learning communities. LLCs are meant to group students together based on similar interests, passions or academic pursuits. Although Officer’s Circle is structured as a house and contains a kitchen, it still requires students to purchase a meal plan. Most of these houses include study areas, a kitchen, living rooms, a dining room and a multi-purpose room.

Jack Markman, a junior studying economics who lived in OC for a school year, mentioned having available resources to him such as public transportation is one benefit of living on campus. “There have been some downsides as well, like cumbersome policies the housing occasionally adopts, but overall my experience has been very positive,” Markman said.

One of those “cumbersome policies” Markman refers to are the security cameras HRE installed in the middle of October 2019. “I was more displeased with the fact that they installed them without informing us and alerting us that they would be in common spaces,” Markman said. “Their rhetoric made it sound as though the cameras would be on the outside of the building.”

Rebecca Bateman is a junior studying economics and philosophy and wants students to know three things about living on Officer’s Circle. “Number one, I would want them to know that it’s a really convenient thing to do; and number two, I would want them to know that it is easy to find community here,” Bateman said. “And number three, I would want them to recognize and weigh the costs of living here, and by cost I mean actual money. It costs a lot of money to live here.”

Lassonde Studios

A home meant for entrepreneurs and innovators, Lassonde Studios is located at the center of campus and will only house first years and sophomores in 2020-2021There are several different types of housing options at Lassonde — a loft, which is an open room for either three or four people that includes a kitchen and living area and two bathrooms; pods, which are a single or double room; and then eight bathrooms among 25 people including a kitchen area. They also have singles and doubles. Each floor has a specific theme and the lobby includes equipment for students to create and innovate.

Alli Schuh is a freshman who is studying modern dance and psychology. She mentioned how close Lassonde is to other buildings on campus. Schuh said having the Student Life Center and her classes within walking distance is “probably what’s most convenient about [living in Lassonde.]”

A common theme that arose among some students about living at Lassonde was the lack of dietary options. Schuh said she disliked the food and feels it is unhealthy.

“The bad thing is I don’t like the meals served at the café downstairs. It’s always the same. Especially if you’ve been living there for two years,” Diana Martinez, a junior studying business administration, said.

Martinez also mentioned how she appreciated the proximity to the business school and how she loved living with her two best friends in her loft.

“I love the idea of living in your own apartment on campus. It’s a really good environment,” Martinez said.  

Schuh said that for the pods the bathroom system could be improved upon. She said she wished they had designated bathrooms for the 25 people who share them. 

Because it is not like anybody’s specific bathroom, people don’t take responsibility to clean up their messes, which is a huge issue,” she said. “They get really disgusting.” 

Marriott Honors Community

The MHC is located right across from the Student Life Center and is currently open for all levels of students, but will be limited to upperclassmen for 2020-2021, due to the new Kahlert Village. The apartment-style dorms include a kitchen, living area and either a single or a double rooms. One of the wings even has two-story apartments with a flight of stairs in them. The common areas are meant to foster community engagement, and some students believe they have been successful to an extent.

“I think one of my favorite things about the MHC is the people here. I feel like everyone is really motivated to do work,” said Sahana Kargi, a freshman studying math, “and whenever I come in after a long day I always see people doing their homework and studying outside in the common areas, so it just motivates me to work harder.”

Along with the common areas outside of the rooms, there are living rooms which model common room areas.

“I really like the common areas in the apartments where we can all hang out as roommates,” said Ryleigh Smith, a freshman studying biology.

Multiple students said they valued the sense of community created by the students who make up the MHC.

“It’s a good community I think. It’s a good group of people,”  William Mollenkamp, a freshman studying music composition, said.

“I wish it was like some of the other freshman dorms where everyone knows everyone on their floors, but I think that just might be a consequence of having apartment-style,” Kargi said. 

While this type of living situation may make it hard to create a social atmosphere outside of the individual rooms, students seem to have been successful in making friends outside of their rooms. 

“I think there are a lot of different social groups inside, but I did not find it very hard to find the one that I fit into the most,” Mollenkamp said. 

Students also brought up some aspects of the Honors Market they wish could be improved.

“The food options could be a little more nutritional,” Smith said. 

“The Honors Market is very expensive but it’s also kind of one of our only options which seems kind of not good. That’s a thumbs down, just for the record,” Mollenkamp said. 

Benchmark Plaza and Shoreline Ridge

The only apartment-styled housing located on north campus, Benchmark Plaza and Shoreline Ridge consist of a kitchen, living room and single rooms that house two, three, or four people. Benchmark Plaza houses upperclassmen, and Shoreline Ridge is also open to graduate students. These apartments do not require a meal plan. Christa Ishimwe, a junior studying health, society and policy who lives in Shoreline Ridge, said the best part about living there is the convenience and proximity to classes and a community. 

“Just by living here you meet a lot of people through events, community meetings in your dorm, or even just in the dining hall,” she said. 

Even though it is relatively closer to campus, Shoreline Ridge and Benchmark Plaza are located the farthest north of all the dorms from the main campus. Ishimwe said she wished she knew how far of a walk it would be to south campus. She said that it can be a struggle to walk up hill when you miss the shuttle. Additionally, Ishimwe said the worst part of living on campus is having roommates and loud people that live in the same hall as you. 

Other Options

In addition to on-campus housing, the U also offers apartments off-campus such as Downtown Commons and Block 44. The U is also close to completing the new first-year only dorm building called Kahlert Village right next to the MHC, which will be open fall 2020. Kahlert Village is expected to house 327 first-year students. It will contain four wings, each one with a specific theme.

“Living on campus helps you become independent and learn to take care of yourself,” Ishimwe said. 


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