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Freshmen Belonging to the Largest Class in History of UAlbany Placed in “No Man’s Land”

By Brianna Collora | September 20, 2021

Some freshmen, part of the largest class in the university’s history, are not able to live among their classmates in traditional freshman housing.

After accepting over 3,000 new first-year students, there was not enough space on the freshmen quads for all of the incoming students. As a result, the university has placed them not only at Indigeneous and State Quad, which are typically occupied by freshmen, but also Dutch and Colonial, which are traditionally sophomore quads.

Despite freshmen being required to have a meal-swipe-based plan, and that swipes can only be used in dining halls, there are no dining halls on Dutch or Colonial, and no options to switch to a discount dollar based meal plan. This may have been more convenient for some students, particularly those on Dutch, whose closest food option is the Campus Center.

Some freshmen living on the sophomore quads view this as one of the most negative effects of their living situation.

“The dining hall is the big thing. I think they’re the reason why freshmen are on freshmen quads,” Suhani Iyer, a freshman placed on Dutch said. “Even though Indigenous is not that far, I kinda have to plan out my meals still because I have to walk over.”

This drawback was echoed among other freshmen students in Iyer’s situation, including Priya Singh.

“I wish it was closer to the food because sometimes I don’t want to go to eat,” Singh said. “If it was right downstairs, I’d be like ‘okay yeah, I’ll go get food!’”

Another student, Max Rappaport, was also disappointed that his quad, Dutch, does not have a dining hall or a gym. He noted that Indigenous residents have access to both on their quads.

Additionally, only a fraction of Dutch and Colonial quads are occupied by freshmen, leaving those students separated from the majority of their peers.

“When we got here, everyone was in their rooms and on the freshmen quads everyone was hanging out and meeting each other,” Demetra Gonis said. “Even walking to get food everyone is playing music and talking to each other and here there’s a more secluded environment and less of a sense of community.”

The students said that Dutch Quad has not been as lively for them as State or Indigenous, where they hear that most of the get-togethers among their classmates occur.

“I went to an event and someone asked where we lived,” Gonis said. “We said Dutch and they said ‘oh, you mean no man's land.’”

Iyer said that the term has been mentioned to her as well, but that the activity being on the other quads could also be seen as a benefit.

“The get-togethers being on State and Indigenous is convenient because if I’m trying to do my homework it’s quiet,” she said.

Living among sophomores came as a complete shock to some freshmen who did not have the ability to request a specific quad on their housing application. As the university adapts to the reintroduction of in-person learning and socializing, these freshmen will continue to navigate their new living situations in unprecedented circumstances.

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