UNLV will begin the 1996-97 school year Monday and for the first time ever its eight residence halls will be filled to capacity.
"We are looking forward to what promises to be a great new school year," said UNLV President Carol C. Harter. "I am delighted that our residence halls are full, which is another indication that UNLV is becoming a mature university with a sizeable resident population. It is truly wonderful to see so many new and returning students living on campus. We wish we had space for all those who want to live in the residence halls, and perhaps in the future we will need to consider whether we should build additional housing."
Karen Strong, director of campus housing, said, "We're thrilled that our residence halls are so popular with our students. We've worked hard to build a quality residential life program that goes far beyond simply providing a roof over students' heads, and now we're seeing our work pay off."
The eight residence halls provide living quarters for 1,078 students ranging from freshmen to graduate students.
Strong said that since mid-July there has been a waiting list of students seeking university housing. While that list has grown significantly shorter, some students still are on the waiting list.
She said she and her staff have had good luck in accommodating the students in their top-two priority groups on the waiting list - the top group being Nevada freshmen from outside Clark County and the second group being out-of-state freshmen. All of the freshmen women fitting into those two categories now have been placed in campus housing, she said, but a few of the men still remain.
"We really won't have a complete picture until next week because we always have some last-minute no-shows, which provides us with a few more spaces," Strong said.
Throughout the latter part of the summer Strong and her staff have been letting students know about other housing options available to them off campus. This assistance has included not only providing them with information on local apartments, but also providing a roommate locator service and helping them find temporary housing while making their final arrangements.
Strong said UNLV never before has had its residence halls completely filled. "The closest we came was last spring semester when we were at about 95 percent occupancy.
"I really do think that part of the draw is our reputation for having a strong residential life program," she said. "Students from Reno or California or Hawaii who lived in our residence halls last year go home over the summer and talk about it with their younger friends and their friends who are transferring to UNLV from other universities.
"We're not just bed and board. Students have a voice here, and their opportunities for academic, personal, and social growth are extensive."
As evidence of the popularity of the residential life program, she pointed to the nearly 300 students who lived in the residence halls last year and are returning this year. "That's a high return rate," she said.
"Our residential life program includes such a variety of activities for the students," she said. "We start off the year with many activities designed to help ease the transition from high school to college - seminars in study skills, time management, personal safety, and even how to do laundry without turning all your clothes pink.
"We also provide many opportunities for students to build their leadership skills through participation in such things as our Residence Hall Association and our chapter of the National Residence Hall Honorary Society," Strong said.
"And throughout the year there are plenty of social activities, including barbecues, volleyball games, concerts, and the like," she said.
Not only is having students live on campus good for those students, it also is good for the campus as a whole, according to Robert Ackerman, vice president for student services.
"Having a strong residential life program adds an important dimension to any campus," Ackerman said. "Additionally, we find that many of our students from the residence halls become involved in our campus clubs and organizations and eventually move into leadership positions there."