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Home, Sweet Home

April 19, 2018
woman studying with papers in her lap
Maria Debroy studies at the UW Apartments. This is her third year living on campus, and she appreciates helping other students as a resident assistant.

Living on campus provides a host of benefits — from academic to social. 

By Micaela Myers 

Living on campus puts the entire college experience at your fingertips. Friends, the gym, dining, classes, the library and more are within easy walking distance.

“As a freshman, it was nice because you were so close to your classes, and you didn’t have to worry about driving or finding parking,” says Maria Debroy, a computer science major who has lived on campus for three years—first as a freshman and then as a resident assistant (RA). “It was nice to have a dining hall and to just be focused on school and adapting instead of paying rent or preparing a meal.”

Not only is it convenient, but it’s academically beneficial. Studies have shown that students who live on campus have higher GPAs and are more likely to stay in school, graduate and be satisfied with their college experience. Living with hundreds of your classmates makes it easy to make friends to study and socialize with.

“The benefits of living on campus are that we have about one RA for every 25 students,” says Eric Webb, executive director of Residence Life, Dining Services and the Wyoming Union. “We have a residence coordinator in each of the halls and one out at the apartments. They serve as a set of eyes and ears to help students, guide them and support them.”

Freshmen at UW generally start in the Washakie halls—Downey, McIntyre, Orr and White—which offer easy underground access to Washakie Dining Center plus large lobbies with computers, sofas, TV viewing areas and service desks. Some freshmen also live in the Honors House (serving students in the Honors College), and upperclassmen often consider the four apartment complex options: Bison Run Village, River Village, Spanish Walk and Landmark Village. The apartments range from one-bedroom to four-bedroom units, and students can request to live with friends in the multi-unit apartments.

UW is also undertaking a 10-year housing plan, which will include renovations and the creation of housing more suitable for living communities. Here, four current students share their experiences living on campus. 

Maria Debroy

Debroy moved from Guatemala to Cheyenne at age 15. “When we moved to the U.S., we specifically chose Wyoming because of the school system,” she says. “Ever since I moved here, I wanted to go to UW because I knew it was going to be a quality education.”

After living in the residence halls for two years, Debroy now lives in the apartments, where she serves as an RA.

“I thought it was a great way to meet new people and be a resource,” she says. “I’ve always liked helping people. I think this was the perfect job for that.”

While the residence halls are tighter knit and closer to the heart of campus, the apartments can offer more privacy. Debroy says living on campus provides incoming students with a built-in support system.

In addition to her work as an RA, Debroy has been involved with the United Multicultural Council. “The Multicultural Resource Center is a good place to be between classes,” she says of the Union facility. “You make friends and are part of a community.”

She believes UW puts students first, and that’s what sets it apart. “There are a lot of resources that aren’t an extra cost,” Debroy says, noting student health, counseling, tutoring, the gym and wellness center, and free events.

“I would recommend UW to someone who is looking for an excellent academic and social experience,” she says. “It’s a great place for someone who wants to expand their horizons both academically and socially or personally.”

Debroy also appreciates the close-knit community of Laramie, where it’s easy to make connections.

“Walking back from class at night, I feel a lot safer in a town like Laramie,” she says. “I know it’s safe, and I’m surrounded by really good people.”

After graduation in two years, Debroy plans to work it the computer science field before eventually pursuing graduate school.

person in a inner tube in a pool holding a trombone
At UW, Ian White is pursuing his various passions, which include water polo, Jazz Ensemble and serving as an RA.

Ian White

Ian White’s major in criminal justice and minors in sociology and music show how UW students can tailor their academic interests. White, a native of Cheyenne who will graduate in 2020, plays in the Jazz Ensemble and competes Club Sports water polo.

“I’m super happy with my decision to come here,” he says. “You can truly be whoever you want to be in college. This is your time to branch out and explore.”

White lived in the residence halls his first semester and then became an RA. “The staff and RAs really care about how students are doing,” he says. “Living on campus is a really good experience. You don’t have to worry about a lot of things that people off campus worry about, like going out and buying your own food. You’re really close to all the activities. There’s always something going on. It’s cool to be connected and to be the central hub of where all that’s being advertised.”

White loves working with people and is now RA for the Criminal Justice Freshman Interest Group (FIG). FIGs group freshmen by major or interest, and the students take classes and live together on a residence hall floor. Activities have included talks by local law enforcement, and White says many students then sign up to do ride-alongs with the officers.

“FIGS are a great way to meet people who share similar interests and to start exploring your career,” he says.

White plans to start locally with his law enforcement career and eventually move up to the federal level.

In addition to working with people, White loves music: “For me, jazz has always been a passion. It’s a great way to get away from school and do something creative.”

He also believes physical activity is key to student health. “I definitely advocate for my residents to go to the gym and stay active,” White says. “Water polo for me is that way to burn off some steam, do a sport and represent UW.”

The 250-plus registered student organizations, plus club and intramural sports, offer something for every interest. “We’re really good at community building and making everyone feel at home” White says.

two people talking
As an RA, Kendalyn Morgan enjoys hosting student events. Here she visits with student Andrew Meyer during a healthy eating class at McIntyre Hall.

Kendalyn Morgan

Kendalyn Morgan, an architectural engineering major who will graduate in 2021, began her life on campus as a freshman on the engineering floor in McIntyre Hall, where she now serves as an RA. “I love building a community and helping students reach their fullest potential,” she says. “Being surrounded by people who were like me and had similar interest for the first time was life-changing. There was always someone I could go to for homework help or a quick study session before a test.”

Morgan was born in Laramie but grew up in Fayetteville, N.C. “I chose UW because I felt like I was coming back to my roots,” she says. “I love the state, and as soon as I stepped onto campus I felt home.”

In addition to being an RA, Morgan is a member of the Architectural Engineering Institute, the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, the National Society of Leadership and Success and the UW Engineering Fund for Enrichment Board. She also participated in the marching band her freshman year.

“I think it is extremely important for new students to live on campus,” Morgan says. “You develop bonds and friendships that you wouldn’t get if you live off campus. The residence halls are a safe place to learn how to be on your own. There are people to help guide and support you through rough spots and moments of hesitation, not to mention plenty of opportunities to have fun and get free food—a college must!”

She says the best part of living on campus is being in the middle of all the action.

After graduation, Morgan could see herself working in residence life or starting her own business: “I would love to find a way to start a company that builds tiny homes or ecofriendly modular homes that could be used to solve the homelessness and poverty epidemic that plagues the world.”

She loves the pride Wyoming takes in its university and enjoys being surrounded by mountains. “UW is full of endless opportunities. It is a big university with a small university feel where you can be a big fish,” Morgan says. “The people truly care about you, and you constantly have a support system.”

Braxton Crofts

Braxton Crofts is a freshman enjoying his first year at UW. Crofts grew up on a cattle ranch about 50 miles outside of Riverton and is majoring in animal science with an agriculture business minor. He plans to return to the family business and/or go into show cattle upon graduation.

“We run a commercial Angus operation focusing on cow-calf, and we run the calves over to yearlings,” he says. “It’s a daily job with no days off. It’s what I love to do.”

He appreciates the time professors take to meet with students and share their real-world experience.

Crofts already completed his first internship at January’s National Western Stock Show and Rodeo in Denver. “It was the best thing ever,” he says. “All the alumni were so supportive of us being there and competing with other colleges and getting out there to meet prospective students.”

There, he served as a great ambassador. “I would recommend it to anyone,” Crofts says.

At UW, he’s happy to be living on campus in the residence halls: “I think it’s easier to start off with because you don’t have to commute. You have Washakie, so you don’t have to worry about where you’re going to eat. Going to class and walking back and forth is super easy. It makes things so much less complex.”

Crofts also appreciates getting to meet students from all over the country. “I think having a random roommate and floor-mates is great,” he says. “My neighbors are from New York and California. There’s a lot of different backgrounds. It’s a great place to live.”

Favorite Meals

“My favorite meal would be Washakie’s tomato soup and grilled cheese, especially
when they have it on a cold day.” –Kendalyn Morgan

“My favorite meal is the soup and salad combo from Grassroots!” –Maria Debroy

“Chicken tenders at Washakie, no doubt. My day is made when there are chicken tenders at Washakie.” –Ian White

“My favorite meal would have to be wings on wing night (at Washakie).” –Braxton Crofts

Housing Master Plan

In 2017, the University of Wyoming undertook the development of a Housing Master Plan to address future campus housing and residential life needs over the next decade. To develop the plan, UW engaged the team of KSQ Design, an Oklahoma-based architectural firm with an extensive portfolio, and Biddison Hier Ltd., a Washington, D.C.-based resource planning firm specializing in student housing and residential life planning.

The proposed plan includes removing Hill and Crane halls and the associated
dining hall, which are no longer in use, and replacing them with smaller suite-style buildings. “They would be suite-style living-learning type communities,” says Eric Webb, executive director of Residence Life, Dining Services and the Wyoming Union. “They would have a little more retail space, late-night facilities, maybe a bakery/coffee shop—those kinds of things on the ground level.”

Ongoing improvements would continue to be made to Washakie Dining Center, and there would be revitalization for the apartments and Greek housing. “The plan also calls for trying to create some more outdoor community space and green space,” Webb says. This would include changes to King Street, the street in front of Washakie, to make it more pedestrian friendly.

The current residence halls would also see important changes, including a larger center-set window in each room, air conditioning, more open hallways and private-style bathrooms. Additional community spaces would also be created.

“This plan will take the full 10 years (to implement) with about two years per building,” Webb says. “I think it will be a dramatic improvement.”


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