Former residents of the scholarship hall system at Kansas University recognize what a valuable asset it is to the university.
A $1.5 million gift approved by the Kansas Board of Regents last week will allow Kansas University to expand a housing area that is often overlooked.
K.K. and Margaret Amini who donated funds several years ago to build a new men's scholarship hall near 14th and Louisiana now have given an additional $1.5 million to help fund construction of a women's hall next door. The new facility will increase the number of scholarship halls to an even 10, five for men and five for women.
The halls are situated at the northeast corner of campus near 14th and Louisiana, on Lilac Lane and around Alumni Place. They are cooperative living units in which students do their own cooking and much of the cleaning in exchange for housing fees that are considerably lower than those charged for traditional residence halls. Each houses about 50 students chosen on the basis of applications that include academic records, essays and recommendations.
While the university is having trouble filling its traditional residence halls, the scholarship hall system apparently is thriving. Before the Amini gifts, no new halls had been built since the 1950s. The men's hall, opened in 1992, includes many amenities not present in the older buildings, but other halls have been updated, and occupancy remains high.
K.K. Amini lived in Battenfeld Scholarship Hall when he was a student and recognized the value of the cooperative system. Scholarship halls offer the advantages of a smaller living group as well as an opportunity to learn to work cooperatively with a variety of people.
Many incoming KU freshman probably are unaware of KU's scholarship halls unless they've had a friend or sibling who has lived there. But even though the system's praises are usually spread mainly by word of mouth, the halls remain popular -- and full.
Thanks are due to the Aminis for breathing new life into a residential system that's a true gem on the KU campus.