Res. Hall Insights: Elizabeth Waters Hall

Elizabeth Waters aka Liz Waters Hall – Lakeshore 

Liz Waters is what I like to call the “Hybrid Hall”. Is it Lakeshore or Southeast? Is it freshman or upperclassmen? The answer is, Liz Waters has it all.

The first unique thing about Liz Waters is actually the building itself. It’s practically a labyrinth.  The setup helps keep the freshman all together and makes it seem like an all freshman hall.

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Freshman Population

Liz Waters is about 40% freshman, and they are all kept on the same portion of the building. With 500 residents total, that’s still 200 freshman close by to be potential BFFs! There are upperclassmen as well, but they are all kept on the same floors in another part of the building.

Room Style

Rooms in Liz Waters are unique (and I like to pretend a little bigger than most). You could walk down one floor and see many different variations. This makes them a lot of fun to decorate and make it into your own space. Liz Waters is the only hall that has coverings over the closet spaces.

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The stackable furniture allows you to customize your room to what will suit you and your roommate’s needs. Heck, feel free to switch it up in the middle of the semester if you want! Take a peek at some of the main options you have.

Bathrooms 

Despite how unique Liz is in all other ways, it does have community style bathrooms. Like I have preached on this blog, community style bathrooms are not that bad. It was one of the things I worried about the most before my freshman year started. Would I get over my shy bladder syndrome? Would I be able to shower in the morning without waiting? Did I need a shower caddie? Were they going to be clean? The answer to all these questions is yes.

Remember, the community bathrooms have about five shower stalls, toilet stalls, and sinks. The showers are in separate lockable stalls, so you can maintain your privacy.There shouldn’t be any issues with having to wait a because as college students we’ve all got some wacky schedules. This spreads out the traffic enough that there tends not to be a “bathroom rush hour”.

To top it all off, they are cleaned once a day by the facility staff. Can I get a hallelujah!?

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Location

The location of Liz Waters may arguably be the best of all the halls. It sits right on the top of Bascom Hill, the center of campus. Technically, Liz Waters is in the Lakeshore neighborhood, but it’s kind of in a neighborhood of its own. No matter where your class is it’s only a short walk away.

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Enjoy the lake right outside your door, take a quick stroll down Bascom Hill and hang out at the Terrace or shop on State Street! The closest library is College Library. The closest dining facility is actually right inside the building, Liz’s Market. But be aware! The Liz Waters dining hall is being closed for renovation in Fall 2015, but will reopen in Spring 2016.

Reader Questions

Did you live in Liz Waters and want to share your experiences? What residence hall do you want to hear about next week? Maybe you have another pressing question you want answered, comment on this post or tweet at me, @SierraLivesey. I would love to hear from you!


Res. Hall Insights: Leopold Hall

Leopold Hall – Lakeshore Neighborhood

Leopold Hall was built in August 2013, so it’s the newest residence hall on campus. There’s quite a few amenities to impress you right off the bat: temperature controlled rooms, carpeting, a walk-in closet, and less students per bathroom. What more could you want? No doubt you’ll be doing a happy dance in your spacious room.

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Freshman Population

Leopold Hall has some freshman, about 50%. It has an interesting dynamic because most of the upperclassmen are going to be located on the first and second floors which are general housing spaces and most of the freshman live on the third and fourth floors which are a part of the GreenHouse Learning Community. The GreenHouse in Leopold provides a unique experience for freshman, you can enjoy the luxuries of an upperclassmen hall without sacrificing the community feel of a typical freshman hall.

GreenHouse Learning Community

There is a big focus on sustainability in Leopold. It recently achieved the LEED gold certification, which basically means it was built and designed to keep the Earth in mind.  In fact, there are solar panels on the roof that supply energy to heat the water in the whole building as well as a 1,000 square foot green house on the top floor that grows food for the dining halls. That’s why Leopold Hall is home to the GreenHouse Learning Community.

If you are interested in sustainability, conservation, environmental issues, gardening, or even if you just like to eat, the GreenHouse would be a great fit! Students in GreenHouse will learn to grow and cook their own food in all seasons. In the past they’ve made biscuits, fruit leather, dumplings, kale chips, curry, and other mouth watering goodness…

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Events in the GreenHouse vary from visits by influential environmental professors and scientists from campus, cooking healthy lunches at local schools, workshops to learn carpentry, painting, and bicycle maintenance, canoe trips, and ice walks.

Remember, if you’re an incoming freshman and you rank a learning community as your first preference you will get invited to select a room from within that learning community online! So you would skip the random assignment process, get to know what your room assignment was early, and have more control over where you end up. The perks never stop.

Room Style

Like all newer residence halls, Leopold has a little bit bigger rooms with a few more amenities than the older typically freshman populated halls. They have individually controlled room temperature, walk-in closets, carpet, and higher ceilings. Keep in mind that all these extra amenities do mean that the cost rate for rooms in Leopold are a bit higher than others. Check out the rates for 2015-2016 if you want to see the differences.

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All beds in Leopold are loftable which means you can put the beds in different arrangements without stacking them on the other furniture like desks or dressers. You can see what the different bed arrangements look like in Leopold Hall here!

Bathrooms 

Bathrooms in Leopold are what University Housing calls cluster style. Each floor in Leopold is coed by room, which means every other room could be either male or female. Every eight rooms are arranged in a cluster together. Each cluster shares two bathrooms, one for women and one for men. There ends up being about 8 to 12 students that share each bathroom.

Within each bathroom is two toilet stalls, two shower stalls, and two sinks. These bathrooms are kept open and are not accessed by key or WisCard. That way if your cluster’s bathroom happens to be full, feel free to wander to the next closest cluster on your floor.

Location

Leopold is located within a less than a three minute walk to two of the six dining halls, Four Lakes Market and Carson’s Market and less than two minutes away from Steenbock library. Get ready for some football because Camp Randall is only a few jump arounds away.

Reader Questions

Did you live in Leopold and want to share your experiences? What residence hall do you want to hear about next week? Maybe you have another pressing question you want answered, comment on this post or tweet at me, @SierraLivesey. I would love to hear from you!


Res. Hall Insights: Kronshage Hall

Kronshage Hall – Lakeshore Neighborhood

The first thing you need to know about Kronshage Hall is that it isn’t one big building. It is, in fact, eight buildings. Imagine you took an eight floor high-rise, pulled the floors out one-by-one, and arranged them around each other. Each of the eight buildings is called a “house” and all of them together is considered Kronshage Hall.

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If you live in Kronshage you have access to all eight houses, not just the one you live in.This is what makes it the only “double whammy” dorm. Meaning, you get the small intimate “the family away from your family” vibe within your house because each house has one big study lounge/den. It won’t take long for you to meet the other 74 students.

Plus, you get the big community feel because it’s common for students to venture into other Kronshage houses and hang out or study in their den! Kronshage Hall is among the most populated dorms with 600 students living in all eight of the houses. First one to meet them all wins!

Also, if you haven’t noticed yet, Kronshage is nestled right up against Lake Mendota. Hammocks, picnics, and Frisbees or snow angels, ice walks, and snowball fights are a must, depending on the good ol’ Wisconsin weather. The Lakeshore path lies between Kronshage and Lake Mendota, and it runs along the lakeside east until it hits Memorial Union and west until picnic point. That way if you have class on the Southeast side of campus you can feel free to hit your snooze button a couple extra time and cruise down the Lakeshore path.

Freshman Population

Kronshage Hall is mostly freshman, like 95 to 97%. With the double whammy set-up you can decide to kick it (the cool kids still say that, right?) with your house fam or go out and meet some potential new besties.

Room Style

All the rooms are doubles and are typical for what most freshman live in on the UW-Madison campus. The only difference is that Kronshage rooms have a build in dresser/vanity right into the wall. It makes the room look bigger and gives you a little extra counter and storage space. A win-win for sure.

The furniture in all dorm rooms are stackable or loftable and allow you to customize your room to what will suit you and your roommate’s needs. There are a million and five ways to make your room feel like home.  Take a peek at some of the main bed options you have.

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Renovations taking place Summer 2015 will add individual room heat controls. Wisconsin winters have got nothing on you.

Want a more in depth look at a Kronshage room? Watch Cavan James’, a student who lived in Kronshage in 2013-2014, Cribs style video of his room. Watch it!

Bathrooms 

Each floor in a house is either all men or women, and each floor has one bathroom. The bathrooms are in a community style set-up where they are shared with the other people on your floor.

As I’ve said before, I know those words immediately send you running in a panic. You’re going to have to trust me, they don’t live up the the massive negative hype created about them.

In fact, I would go so far to say that I met a good number of new friends in the bathrooms. If you don’t eventually say hi to that one other person in the bathroom brushing their teeth before the 8am class you both thought would be easy to get up for because, “Hey, I got up earlier than that for high school,” every Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, then you’re full of baloney. You obviously both have a lot in common.

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The community bathrooms have about five shower stalls, toilet stalls, and sinks. The showers are in separate lockable stalls, so you can maintain your privacy.There shouldn’t be any issues with having to wait as college students we’ve all got some wacky schedules which spreads out the traffic enough that there tends not to be a “bathroom rush hour”.

Location

You will never live in cheaper lake front property than at Kronshage Hall. Some of the best rooms on campus are Kronshage corner rooms with a lake view, especially for freshman.

Kronshage is located within a less than a three minute walk to two of the six dining halls, Four Lakes Market and Carson’s Market and less than two minutes away from Steenbock library. Get ready for some football because Camp Randall is only a few jump arounds away.

Reader Questions

Did you live in Kronshage and want to share your experiences? What residence hall do you want to hear about next week? Maybe you have another pressing question you want answered, comment on this post or tweet at me, @SierraLivesey. I would love to hear from you!


“Which Dorm is the Best One?” aka University Housing: The Basics

“Which dorm is the best one?” 

This is probably the most frequent question I get asked on tours, and it’s a question I can’t exactly answer in one word. There are nineteen residence halls aka “dorms” on the UW-Madison campus. They may all be unique, but there is certainly no clear winner.

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You will read all sorts of things about which residence hall is the best and what type of students live in them. I’m here to tell you to take those hall stereotypes with a grain of salt. No specific building is going to be able to give you the “Wisconsin Experience” or help you meet friends. What will make your first year memorable is the people you meet and the things you do.

From my experience, freshman have the best experiences in halls that have mostly freshman living in them. Everyone has their doors open, are taking the same classes, and are as eager to meet and fit in as you are. Upperclassmen (sophomores, juniors, and seniors) tend to have things more figured out and are less likely to be ready to make a whole new group of friends.

With my spiel out of the way, here’s the low down for those of you who are as clueless as I was.

A Tale of Two Neighborhoods

There are two “neighborhoods” on campus, Lakeshore and Southeast. As the names suggest, Lakeshore is located by Lake Mendota and Southeast is on the southeast part of campus. Both have about the same number of students. Lakeshore has more residence halls packed close together with less students in each building, and Southeast has less residence halls farther apart with more students in each building.

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I know there is a huge stereotype that if you want any kind of social life you should life in Southeast. Guess what? The housing assignment process is random, which means that there are going to be as many students in the Southeast that want to go out on weekends as there are in Lakeshore and as many students in Southeast that want to stay in as there are in Lakeshore.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with liking one neighborhood over the other. Just rest easy knowing your Wisconsin Experience will remain intact either way. That’s what I love about UW-Madison the most. There are so many students here you are bound to find exactly where you fit into our large community, no matter where you live.

Learning Communities

A learning community is a tight-nit group of students within the residence halls. A learning community can make up a floor within a hall, a couple of floors, or even the whole building. The students that live in the learning community are all there to explore the topic/theme of the community with each other and other experts on campus.

What’s nice is that you don’t have to be majoring in the topic to live there! A lot of students use learning communities as a chance to learn about something new or keep active in a hobby or interest they have but don’t want to major in.

There are ten learning communities within the residence halls. Find the right one for you!

Psst… Students that rank a learning community as their #1 preference get to select a room online from within that learning community rather than go through the random assignment process. It’s a lot like picking a seat on an airplane.

Res. Hall Insights

Every week I will dedicate a post to explaining the nooks and crannies of one of the nineteen residence halls. What the bathrooms look like, how the rooms are set up, what percentage of freshman live there, and what makes it unique.

This week I’ll be giving you the insight on Chadbourne Hall so stay tuned!

Reader Questions

What stereotypes have you heard about certain residence halls? What is the thing you look for most in a residence hall? If you live(d) in the residence halls what was your favorite thing about them? Leave a comment or tweet at me, @SierraLivesey. I want to know what you think!