Campus Living Series: Honors Living in University Suites

University Suites is a $54 million building opened in 2013 and located on East campus at 327 Aiken Street. (Andre Ragel/Connector)

Andre Ragel
Connector Staff

As UMass Lowell’s primary honors housing located on east campus, University Suites offers a premium living experience for high-achieving students.

Opened in 2013, this $54 million residence hall serves as the home to over 450 co-ed students who are a part of the Commonwealth Honors LLC.

Each room in University Suites can accommodate four to six students. Every room comes with a standard set of furniture that includes a bed, mattress, wardrobe, dresser and a rolling chair that can be converted to a gaming rocker and a stool. The spacious common area also includes a sink, two bathrooms and showers. There is also individual temperature control on each room in the suites.

There are two lounges on every floor each with a full kitchen and big windows that offer spectacular views of Lowell. A feature unique to University Suites is a conference room that is located in the middle of every floor that is complete with whiteboards and TVs. Students can utilize this space at night and on the weekends to study with other students and help them focus.

The ground floor of University Suites is currently undergoing a full renovation that is slated to finish by January 2018. Hawk’s Nest is set to re-open to offer a small-scale full dining experience to residents of University Suites and River Hawk Village, similar to what is currently available at the Inn and Conference Center.

Although disruption is kept to a minimum because of construction, some students are not amused by the early starts.

“I would leave the window open when I sleep at night, and there are days when I wake up and realize that they are starting construction way before 7 a.m.,” said resident Gregory Smelkov.

However, many students are looking forward to this new addition to University Suites which will offer convenience for many.

“I wouldn’t need to leave the building to grab food on weekends or on days with bad weather. It’ll be so helpful during finals since you can just grab a quick snack then go back to studying,” said computer science major Yash Patel.

Living at University Suites does come with a relatively high price tag. At $11,023 per year, some students do say that the premium amenities that come with living in a new building like University Suites are worth splurging a few extra hundred per semester.

“The building is definitely much nicer than Fox. I definitely recommend it if you have the option of living here and you could afford it,” said freshman Zachary Belisle.

Amenities are not the only benefit that students noted when talking about University Suite’s positive qualities.

“People here are likeminded, studious scholars, everyone is proactive about fulfilling their different honors requirements,” said Belisle.

Students living in University Suites may park in two lots around East Campus including the East Campus garage and the Perkins Street lot. In addition, University Suites is directly serviced by the Orange North shuttle that runs every 10 minutes to North Campus.

As with any residence hall, there are a few things future students should keep in mind when considering to live in University Suites.

“The soundproofing sucks between the rooms so we can hear each other’s conversations all the time. We have an electric room next to our suite, so we randomly hear noises throughout the night,” said freshman business major Diana Bui.

Sound problems were not the only concern expressed by students living in the building.

“The ovens [in the kitchen located in the common area] either don’t work at all or don’t cook food thoroughly. It’s very unreliable,” said Belisle.

But overall, the community that is built among the residents of University Suites and their resident advisors is considered to be the highest draw for students living in University Suites.

“Our RA really takes the time to get to know all of us. She is really impressive, and she’s a role model for all of us,” said Amanda Martel of her RA Brianna Atwood, a plastics engineering student who has been repeatedly recognized in the Honors College for her community service project with St. Patrick’s School in Lowell.

If a high-quality, state-of-the-art residence hall is on the top of your list when choosing a place to live, then University Suites is a no-brainer.

“Not only are the people phenomenal, but we’re basically a mini community here,” said Martel.

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