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Saint Mary’s seniors enjoy on-campus living arrangements

Sarah Voss | Wednesday, October 5, 2005

Senior Lauren Siegel did not consider living off campus after Saint Mary’s opened Annunciata Hall, the fourth floor housing area in Holy Cross Hall set apart for seniors only.

“It’s nice to be surrounded by people who are all at the same point in life,” she said. “It’s quieter and easier to study.”

Siegel said she loves the feeling of “a separate togetherness” that senior halls have with the rest of campus.

As the College continues to expand on-campus housing, many Saint Mary’s seniors are choosing not to move to one of the popular off-campus housing complexes, like Turtle Creek, College Park or Castle Point. Instead, many prefer Opus Hall and Annunciata Hall, which are exclusively available to Saint Mary’s seniors.

Nearly one year since its Oct.8, 2004 dedication, Opus Hall is currently housing its second round of 72 seniors. The hall, which was designed with input from students, is fully furnished and includes both Internet and cable access. There is also a full kitchen, which includes a microwave, stove, dishwasher and refrigerator. There are 24 apartments in the building, broken up into 12 doubles and 12 quads.

Annunciata Hall currently houses 50 seniors. The hall contains rooms ranging from singles to quads. The floor features a large break room with an overstuffed couch and big screen TV. Residents of Annunciata also have special access to a basement entrance that allows them to bypass the first floor lobby.

Seniors on campus have noticed several benefits to living there.

Senior Emily Fannon, a resident of Opus Hall, enjoys the flat fee of campus housing, as opposed to the month-to-month expenditures of off-campus living.

“All of our expenses are covered, so we never have to worry about paying the bills,” Fannon said.

Senior Mary Buehl, a resident of Opus Hall, agreed.

“Not having to worry about utilities is great,” she said.

Many seniors living on campus said that the locations of Opus and Annunciata allow them to stay involved with Saint Mary’s activities.

“It’s nice to be able to use the campus services,” Buehl said. “I’m involved in the Education Club and it’d be difficult to do that if I had to drive.”

Fannon said her friends living off campus have a difficult time staying involved in the Saint Mary’s community. And seniors living on campus said living on campus makes it was easier to manage classes.

“I’m an art major, so I have to be on campus a lot,” said senior Catherine Bradley, a resident of Opus Hall. “Living in Opus is helpful because I can get from my room to class very quickly.”

Bradley was happy with her decision to live on campus during her senior year.

“I’m glad I’m still a part of campus,” she said, adding that she has plenty of time to move into an apartment later in her life.

Many residents of Opus and Annunciata Halls also said they feel safer than many of their off-campus friends.

Despite many seniors moving off campus to find greater freedom, many senior hall residents said they have found the same thing living on campus.

“The roommates here at Opus set up specific rules, so we have lots of freedom as to what happens in our apartment,” Fannon said.

Notre Dame has no such senior housing area on campus, as all dorms house students from all four years.

“I feel like Opus is the best of both worlds – a place of my own but much nicer than being off-campus,” Buehl said. “Plus, I’ve noticed that my friends from Notre Dame are jealous of our apartments.

“We have a place of our own to call home during senior year.”