Written by Sam Chavez.
Graphic by Peyton Cabaniss.
It’s that time of the semester when students are trying to figure out their living situation for next year. While some students go apartment-hunting, others like me face a dilemma in choosing a dorm. Whether an incoming student or a fourth-year student, navigating through housing can be a whirlwind, as time keeps moving. As a first-year student, I have had a unique experience: the opportunity to live in two different dormitories—a supplemental dorm in San Jacinto followed by my permanent dorm in Jester West. From this experience, I have had the opportunity to observe the different living spaces around the UT campus.
Jester West & East
Jester West is known for its diversity, but there are noticeable patterns in where different people live. Extroverts reside on the upper levels while introverts live on the lower floors. Nevertheless, Jester West is easily the most diverse dorm due to also being the largest dorm on campus. “It’s just so lively and welcoming! Its convenience also makes it the best dorm on campus,” said freshman Marely Serna. Located in the heart of campus, many freshmen live here as a staple of their UT experience. For those who want the Jester experience without any distractions and noise, Jester East—the sister location—may be the right fit. “Everyone is super nice, and it’s a really great mix of people. It’s quieter than Jester West, but it still has a lot of activities,” said freshman Bridget Burke. Thus, students can have a social and academic balance.
Consisting of Andrews, Blanton, Carothers, and Littlefield, the Honors Quad is located on North campus in the Whitis community. With the exception of Blanton, these dorms have not undergone many renovations, so they still have a classic collegiate feel to them. Upon entering Littlefield the dormitory feels fictional, resembling Hogwarts with its polished wooden furniture, painted ceiling, and oil portraits. In contrast to big names like Jester and San Jacinto, the population is also significantly smaller and more like-minded, allowing for tighter-knit communities. Although the Honors Quad is definitely not right for everybody, it is perfect for the few that reside there. “It’s easier to stay focused here,” said biology freshman Abigail Flores. Also, located in the Whitis community, Duren is the newest dorm around the block, and it has the amenities to prove it. Equipped with immaculate tiles, flexible bathroom layouts, and modern furniture many living in Duren describe it as their “home away from home.”
Waller Creek Community
In South campus lies the Waller Creek Community, including San Jacinto. People often associate San Jacinto with an energetic culture since many athletes reside there. However, according to international relations & global studies freshman, Audrey Sinclair, “It differs depending on where you are. The South Tower has the athletes; the North Tower is a mix. It’s an even mix.” It is the second largest dorm on campus and one of the loudest, especially around football season. Also found in the Waller Creek Community are Prather, Roberts, and Brackenridge where many returning students often live due to its location and price. Located between Jester and the DKR Memorial Stadium, these dorms offer the best of both worlds without the price tag of the more popular Jester or San Jacinto. If there were a quirky dorm, it would probably be Moore-Hill Hall or the “Moore-Hill Pirates” as they like to call themselves. Moore-Hill Hall has one of the most unified communities. For being a smaller residence hall, Moore-Hill creates an atmosphere of pride and kinship.
While every dorm is different, no one person is alike. When it comes to choosing housing, whether it be on campus or off, the most important part is to be mindful of finding what makes someone comfortable. I found comfort living in Jester West because of its diverse population. Not one of my friends are alike—some are athletic, others are academic but at the end of the day, living in a dorm with different people has allowed me to find a community that reminds me of home.
For those of you who are living on campus next year, don’t be afraid to explore your options because there’s a dorm and community for everyone at UT Austin.