Students at Kansas University can make their own choices about where to live, but Kenneth Stoner says living in residence halls can make the first years of a college career more enjoyable and productive.
"It gives them time to become familiar with KU facilities and Lawrence," says Stoner, director of student housing. "There are a whole lot of details that are commonly overlooked by students renting an apartment or a house for the first time."
At a residence hall, questions about meal planning, utilities, telephone service, bus stops and parking are answered.
"All those things have been carefully planned for students here," he says. "If a student comes in the summer and picks a place off-campus, they may not be quite as diligent."
With eight residence halls, eight scholarship halls and two apartment buildings, Stoner says the university can take care of most students' needs.
STONER'S SALES PITCH must work, because university calculations show that about 25 percent of all KU students and almost two-thirds of KU freshmen live in university housing.
University housing's popularity might also be due to the relatively low prices charged at KU. According to the 1989 College Board annual survey, room and board at U.S. public four-year colleges averages $3,039. For the 1990-1991 school year, KU's room and board rate was $2,496.
In scholarship halls, specialized housing is provided for academically motivated students. The halls also provide a cooperative lifestyle. Residents, who are selected on the basis of academics and financial need, share hall duties ranging from menu planning to cooking and cleaning.
Special opportunities also are available in the residence halls.
For example, Stoner said, a large percentage of architecture and engineering students live in Pearson Hall.
"WE KIND of speculate that it's because it's closer to some of the buildings where those students spend a lot of their time," he said.
Hashinger Hall, with its Center for Creative Arts, tends to attract more arts and music students. The hall provides a dance studio, music practice rooms, a theater and performance opportunities.
In a program called Excellence in Ellsworth Experience, students live on a designated floor in Ellsworth Hall, enroll in courses together, meet with faculty mentors and spend time together outside the hall.
A similar program at McCollum Hall, known as the Honors Floor, is for 30 men and 30 women who enroll in many of the same honors courses and participate together in academic and cultural activities.
McCollum also has a large contingent of international students, Stoner said.
IN ALL university housing, full-time live-in staff members in each building are there to answer questions and take care of maintenance and other problems, Stoner said.
Each hall also has a parking lot associated with it for use by its residents. "They will get a permit if they live in the hall," Stoner said.
Residents have a choice of single- or double-occupancy rooms in residence halls and Jayhawker Towers, university-operated apartments.
Stouffer Place, the university's other apartment complex, is for students with families.