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Corvallis Gazette-Times: ‘Fresh challenges face OSU students’

Posted September 21st, 2012 by UHDS News

[Corvallis Gazette-Times, Sept. 20, 2012] — Now that Oregon State University students who live on campus have finished moving in, they’re ready for fall term classes to begin on Monday.

According to University Housing and Dining Services, 4,290 students will be living on campus this fall, or roughly 85 percent of OSU freshmen. Dan Larson, the associate director of operations and facilities for University Housing and Dining Services, was pleased with how smoothly the two-day move-in went.

Now, he said, students can start to focus on other matters.

“For domestic students, there is a tremendous amount of excitement and uncertainty, and a sense of loss in terms of family,” Larson said. “For our international population, working through administrative processes can be challenging … coming to a different country and trying to make sense of everything can be very stressful.”

In all, about 67 percent of the new students housed by University Housing and Dining Services are freshmen, including Kyle Sweeney, a computer science major from Portland, and Hunter Murga, a chemistry major from Klamath Falls. They moved into their fourth-floor room in Wilson Hall on Tuesday. Students there can share a two-person room and pay a little more than $7,000 a year, not including a meal plan.

“It’s less nerves and more, ‘I’m free!’” Murga said. “It’s like a new start.”

Murga and Sweeney, like many new students living on campus, connected through the University Housing and Dining Service’s roommate matching network. Through Facebook, they discussed things they have in common, like their love for video games and how clean they want to keep the room.

“It’ll probably go in a cycle. It’ll be clean for a while, then messy,” Sweeney said.

Though the roommates said their focus will be on academics, they plan to take advantage of opportunities to socialize.

About 14 percent of students living on campus are international students.

Htet Aung Lin, a first year student in the INTO-OSU program, didn’t have the chance to connect with his roommate before he entered the dorm room, and that’s common for international students.

Lin arrived to his residence hall, the International Living-Learning Center, last weekend from his home country of Myanmar. He initially was surprised by the number of foreign students at the International Living-Learning Center. About three-fourths of the 312 students who live there come from other nations.

“I was thinking, there are so many Chinese students, but that’s not strange to me,” he said, noting that Myanmar also is home to many people from China.

Lin was glad to see the accommodations of the International Living-Learning Center, too. “It’s pretty nice compared to the ones I’ve seen.”

Students who live in a double room in the building pay about $9,000 a year, according to University Housing and Dining Services.

Now that the students are settled, the next task facing housing officials is to make them feel at home.

“They do all sorts of activities to engage with the students and help them feel they’re a part of something,” Larson said. But keeping students focused on their studies as their first priority also is important.

“What they’re going to see is hundreds of opportunities that have potential to keep them from why they’re here.”

Read the full article by GT reporter Joce DeWitt. Photos by Amanda Cowan.

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