Residence is now available to all students wishing to live on campus.
The opening of Yamnuska Hall, the new residence building, saw the end of the waiting list for students wanting to live on campus. Out of approximately 2,500 living spaces available on campus -- 589 of which are in Yamnuska -- 95 per cent are currently occupied.
Residence life coordinator for Yamnuska Hall Jason Bowers said the feedback from students living in the new buildings has been good. "The common areas, particularly the academic lounge, are heavily used."
Before Yamnuska was built, the university wait list had over 400 students.
"We want to give as many students a part of that experience that we can, and to do that we need to grow the facilities as well," said director of residence services Randy Maus.
Third-year electrical engineering student James Hinton said, "living in residence is a mix of extremes. On the one hand, for study geeks like me, it's close to all the campus resources, which definitely gives you a hand up on good grades. Socially, it depends on your courses. It can be challenging during peak times of study when it feels like everyone else is partying and you're stuck at home in the books."
The cost of residence can often be more than renting off campus, Maus said campus living is also about the experience, so much so that 325 Calgarian students are currently living on campus.
One student chose to live on campus even though his family lives a couple blocks away.
"He knew that he could build his social and support networks a lot faster and that there would be opportunities here that he wouldn't get at home," said Maus. "He has done stellar and is now one of our student leaders."
Spanish exchange student Rocio Contreras and French exchange student Ely Gerand are two of the approximately 450 non-Canadian students living in residence. They both agree that it is much more expensive in Canada than Madrid and Paris, but they enjoy the lively, social atmosphere of Cascade Hall and its proximity to both the university and public transport.
"In Cascade it is easy to meet people, first because you have three roommates, and second because they organize events for us," said Gerand. "You can go partying three times a week, so it is noisy and hard to get sleep some nights, particularly Fridays."
Contreras disagreed, stating, "unless your neighbours are having a party, quiet time is at 11 p.m. and people stick to that."
Maus said that the problem with comparing student housing on and off campus is that students don't often compare apples with apples.
"Students may compare sharing a house or living in a small unit with what they get here," he said. "Some of the services we provide you're not necessarily getting somewhere else."