by Ally Larrick–
After the unanticipated growth of Virginia Tech’s student body this year, the university made arrangements to house a portion of the 2023 class at the Holiday Inn Express and The Inn at Virginia Tech (The Inn). Once news broke, questions arose as to who would be chosen to live at these hotels, as opposed to the on-campus dorms. For Virginia Tech freshman, Devin Dent, the decision to live at The Inn was all his.
“We actually picked to live here. We could have picked any of the other dorms, but we were like ‘Hey, there’s air conditioning,’” Dent said. Along with securing air conditioning, Dent and one of his roommates agreed on other perks such as a bigger room, being closer to classes, and having their own bathroom.
The rooms at the Inn, on multiple floors, transformed from hotel rooms to dorm rooms over the summer. This included twin beds, with the ability to be lofted, desks and desk chairs, as well as collapsible wardrobes to save space.
A message from Patricia Perillo, Vice President for Student Affairs, states, “We consider the hotels part of our campus residence hall system and will provide student and professional staff, social opportunities, and other valuable educational programs as we do in all of our halls.” This transformation allows Virginia Tech to accommodate the influx of students while making them feel like they are still living the dorm life.
“It didn’t really change my freshman year. It feels like a dorm in here,” Dent said, “Sometimes I refer to it as my dorm, but usually just ‘The Inn’.” Although Dent and his roommates are pleased with the living situation for their freshman year, there are some who are unhappy.
According to Housing and Residence Life, “Assignments for incoming first-year students and transfers are made in contract receipt order, so the earlier your contract arrives, the earlier you are assigned in the process.” Those who filled out their housing contracts really late were not placed in their first choice dorms but were placed in either The Inn or the Holiday Inn Express. Dent points out some of the biggest differences between dorm-life and hotel-life that students may struggle with.
“The amount of people, dorms have a lot more people in them. Location, because they have the quads while we are over here kind of isolated,” Dent said.
In addition to students, resident advisors (RA’s) had to adjust to the switch. RA’s in large staff residence halls, such as Vawter Hall or Pritchard Hall, are required to sign up for one shift at the Holiday Inn Express each semester. Meena Kannan, an RA in Vawter Hall, has yet to complete her shift, but she knows that some of the RA’s are not very happy about it.
“It’s kind of inconvenient to have to go over there. It is just another duty shift on top of the ones we already have to do for our own residence halls,” said Kannan, “but I think we all understand we have to help out because they’re pretty understaffed at the Holiday Inn.”
The adjustment has not been easy, but the understanding attitudes of the RA’s and many accommodations by Student Affairs, keep the freshman in good spirits.