For some, the various apartment housing options scattered across AU’s campus are an escape from the dorms. For others, the apartments provide additional benefits. Fair Commons combines an immediate closeness to campus with much desired privacy. University Terrace’s cozy atmosphere gives students a feeling of homeliness. Students look to the diverse housing options for extended comfort and privacy. This privacy and comfort may not be a regular specialty of everyday dorm life, but the apartments can provide such qualities. Tara East, on the other hand, will not be supplying these sought-after qualities to undergraduates this school year.
A campus favorite to many, Tara East is currently undergoing a period of remodeling and renovation. The typically full parking lot is diminished compared to former years, as half of the complex is currently closed.
As former residents may recall, both buildings that make up Tara East have been in need of a touch-up. The decision was made not to allow undergraduate students from residing in the northern side of Tara East before the current school year began. This decision gave room for immediate revamping to begin to take place there.
The southern apartments of Tara East are still open, but not to undergraduates. Graduate students comprise these open rooms, as is the norm.
With a concentration in international studies, Dom Martin is one such graduate student currently living in Tara East. Martin was a resident assistant for three years in Smith Hall before moving on to Tara East for the last two years of his academic career. Given the time spent in both buildings, Martin has a respectable amount of experience living in these separate environments.
“I’m absolutely loving Tara East,” he said. “Building-wise, nothing is really different with the repairs. They did finally fix my toilet. But it’s always good to see them doing work, because we needed it.”
While the repairs are not particularly ideal in the sense that they take housing options away from students, the remodeling of Tara East has made Dillon Lockwood’s life slightly easier.
Being the resident director of all apartment housing, Lockwood has the tough assignment of keeping an eye on numerous buildings while other resident directors oversee only one.
“It can be difficult to get to all of the buildings,” he said. “Remodeling Tara has made it a little easier, though.”
Most of the students who would’ve resided in Tara East this year have ended up in South Campus or University Terrace. Tara East being closed for the school year was expected beforehand, so these moves have not caused any large issues among students.
The ongoing repairs have allowed Lockwood more time for other endeavors in apartment life, like the newly implemented room representatives system. One resident from each apartment is chosen as the room representative. That resident meets with their respective resident assistant to discuss various topics.
“The system helps connect residents with RAs,” said Lockwood. “Programming can be tough, because people are busy. The goal is to figure out what issues there may be in the rooms and find out what residents are expecting out of events.”
Much like how student engagement is a primary goal of Lockwood’s, student comfort is the ultimate goal of these repairs and renovations taking place. According to Lockwood, the remodeling of Tara East shouldn’t last for too long either. He predicts that they should be done by next year.
Tara East receiving the refashioning it needs is just another step in making the transition from dorm life to apartment life as smooth as possible for students. Of course, one should be aware of that transition before they make the move to their apartment of choice.
“If you’re living in a building for the community aspect, nothing beats the dorms,” said Martin. “But the apartments present more space that you can claim. If that entices you, keep in mind that a new and improved Tara East is just around the corner.”
The apartments are not scarce on community because of certain repairs and intended privacy, though.
“We really try to provide fun experiences to get to know people on campus,” said Lockwood.
This is evident with some of the apartments’ upcoming events. Expect the annual South Campus concert to return, along with open mic night in November. PizzaPalooza, a Lollapalooza-like event, is happening Oct. 1.
There is obviously no shortage of rousing social events happening in the apartments. Nor is there a shortage of improvements being made, this being most evident in Tara East. If the time of transitioning away from the dorms is beckoning to you, these are exciting times.