Living on campus adds a new dimension to college life, and no university recognizes and values that more than UAB.
|Blazer Hall opens this week with space available to 720 first-time freshmen, suite-style rooms, 14 study lounges, a large multi-media room and other state-of-the-art amenities. The opening of the hall marks a new and exciting era of on- campus living at UAB. Blazer Hall also is located adjacent the new Commons on the Green dining facility.|
With the recent addition of UAB’s newest student residence Blazer Hall and the Commons on the Green dining facility, UAB is making good on its commitment to provide students the best all-around college experience they can receive.
The Commons made its debut this summer and Blazer Hall is doing the same now as incoming freshmen arrive for the beginning of the fall semester, marking a new and exciting era of on-campus living at UAB. The construction of Blazer Hall and the evolution of the Campus Green are changing the face of undergraduate life at UAB while making the campus more attractive, says university President Carol Garrison.
“Blazer Hall and the Commons on the Green will aid in forming the nexus for a strong, active, campus life — something that is essential to the collegiate experience and for developing strong emotional ties among future alumni,” Garrison says. “These changes, as part of the creation of the Campus Green, also aid in framing a beautiful and welcoming front door for our campus. That, in turn, creates a strong impression of the institution and Birmingham.
“It is fitting that our image equals the quality of education UAB provides.”
Blazer Hall, opening this week with space available to 720 first-time freshmen, is the cornerstone for student housing at UAB. The hall offers suite-style rooms, 14 study lounges, a large multi-media room and a 4,000-square-foot Residence Life Center for hosting programs and activities for the residents. It is located at 920 16th St. S., adjacent to the Commons on the Green dining facility and just a short walk from the Campus Recreation Center, making it the perfect location for today’s active college student.
Blazer Hall features two- and three-bedroom suites on eight floors complete with computer network connections in each bedroom, computer lab, basic cable TV service, coin-operated washers and dryers, community rooms and vending machines. Blazer Hall is alcohol- and tobacco-free.
The benefits to students living in Blazer Hall or any of the residential halls on campus are numerous, says Marc Booker, director of student housing and residential life.
“There is a built-in value of living in a community with people who are going through the same experiences you are going through,” says Booker. “To show that benefit, recent surveys we have conducted show students living in student housing score a half grade point higher on average than students living off campus. A half grade point is very significant.”
One of the ways UAB is helping freshmen make the transition to college life on campus is through Freshman Opportunities in Citizenship, Understanding and Scholastics, or FOCUS. The program supports UAB’s Quality Enhancement Plan, which emphasizes communication, knowledge, problem-solving and citizenship throughout the academic curriculum. In the residence halls, FOCUS promotes civic responsibility, diversity, academic progress, knowledge of contemporary issues, informed decision-making and an understanding of values and ethics. Monthly themes will place emphasis on specific topics that benefit college freshmen. Examples include health and fitness, diversity, choosing a major and personal finance.
“FOCUS is our way of making sure the student is getting a well-rounded experience,” Booker says. “The program engages students in the UAB experience and affords them an opportunity to become part of the wider Birmingham community through service and outreach activities.”
People make the difference
If students in campus housing have a question or a problem, there’s always someone to turn to just down the hall. Resident assistants are full-time UAB students who live in the residence halls and have been trained to manage floor administration, developmental programming, peer mentoring, resource information and enforcement of Student Housing policies.
The Housing Police Precinct also provides a UAB Police supervisor and eight officers who routinely patrol the residence halls and parking areas on both foot and bicycle. “Our officers get to know the students,” Booker says. “They interact with them and conduct activities that help residents prevent crime and promote safety.”
And, an after-dark escort service is available – a designated UAB escort will meet and accompany students to their on-campus destination by foot or in a marked vehicle. These resources also are available to the upperclassmen and graduate students living in the other four residence halls — Blount, Rast, Camp and Denman.
“The biggest part of our program is the overall experience students have in housing,” Booker says. “The meal plans are designed to promote healthy choices. We have our own movie channel to provide educational opportunities through television. Resident students have access high-speed Internet in each building. And, of course, one of the biggest practical advantages is avoiding traffic, parking and fuel costs in the commute to class.
“Student Housing at UAB is more than a place to stay,” Booker adds. “It’s where our students live, learn and grow.”