Friday, June 26, 2009

Students Create Their “Home Away from Home”

The prospect of living on campus can be a challenge for new students. As part of this year’s orientation program, the Office of Housing and Residence Life partnered with three local businesses to provide ideas on how incoming residents can create a “Home Away from Home.”

For this first-time program, designers from Bed Bath & Beyond, IKEA and Target each decorated a lounge in Lynch Hall. They were asked to transform a portion of the lounges to depict a typical 10-by-15-foot bedroom area. The decorators were given a room’s basic furnishings – bed, desk, chair and wardrobe/dresser. They used the remaining space in the selected lounges to give examples of decorating ideas for common spaces (living rooms and bathrooms) that can be found in suite units.

“Students and their parents are always eager to see where their son or daughter is going to be living; our goal was to provide incoming residents with some great ideas on how to accessorize their rooms to not only maximize the space available but to create a home away from home,” said Carla Hines, assistant director of administration for housing and residence life.

According to Hines, parents of incoming students are concerned with their children succeeding academically and socially. Providing students ideas on how to create a comfortable living space is a new initiative that supports these goals.

“Living on campus is one of the best ways for students to excel in college,” said Jackie Simpson, associate vice chancellor and director of housing and residence life. “On-campus residents establish stronger connections to fellow students and faculty; they become more involved in campus life; and they achieve greater academic success.”

Hines, who spearheaded the “Home Away from Home” event, said the University-area businesses were excited to participate. During SOAR sessions (student orientation and registration), up to 10,000 people will view the design concepts. She added that the three retailers donated selected items from the designs for a drawing scheduled for Wednesday, July 22. SOAR sessions, which began recently, are held over two days. Incoming freshmen and their parents reside in Lynch and Witherspoon halls during their visit.

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