Proximity to campus benefits residents of Laurel Village and Alvarez Hall


Gauri Raje, Assistant News Editor

Laurel Village and Alvarez Hall are two of the five dormitory options offered to UTSA students who plan to live on campus. 

Laurel Village offers students apartment style living spaces with either two bedrooms and one bathroom or four bedrooms and two bathrooms, while Alvarez Hall offers students a two bedroom option with a shared bathroom. 

Overall, students at both Alvarez and Laurel were satisfied with their experience at the dorms thus far.

“This is my first semester here. I’m a senior but I just transferred. This place has been really nice … Moving here was like a change but it’s really nice to live here,” senior Allef Soores, who lives at Laurel Village, said. 

Freshman Hugo Uribe also expressed similar thoughts on living in Alvarez. 

“I’ve been living here for 10 weeks already. It’s been good. Got the biggest room on the floor. It’s been really spacious; it’s nice; it’s comfortable. Not a lot of noise,” Uribe said. “I like that it’s really nice. The building is kind of new so everything on the inside is nice.”

Taleah Atkinson, a freshman living at Alvarez, also expressed a positive opinion on the atmosphere at the dorm. 

“It’s a good atmosphere. Everyone’s friendly,” Atkinson said.

However, Emily Salinas, a sophomore living at Alvarez, said that while the experience has been okay so far, it wasn’t the best. One of the things Salinas pointed out was the overall atmosphere, which tended to get loud on Salinas’ floor. 

“Since this is [my] first year living on campus, there’s a lot of freshmen here. So, sometimes, my floor specifically gets a bit rowdy and it gets loud. But usually I can tell them to quiet down and it’ll be fine,” Salinas said. 

Atkinson expressed a similar opinion about having to deal with loud noise in the evenings, adding that it can get loud when people come back to the dorm after midnight.

On the other hand, Soores has not experienced noise issues at Laurel Village.

“No one really bothers anybody. People just do their own thing… there’s no noise complaints, no people running around,” Soores said.

Salinas further pointed out that Alvarez doesn’t have a kitchen for every floor, something that would have been more convenient for students.

“The only thing that I would complain about … is that we only have one kitchen on one floor. So that’s a bit inconvenient,” Salinas said.

Uribe also expressed a similar opinion, while also noting that doing so might not be practically possible.

“If anything, a kitchen per floor may be nice, but I don’t think, with the way [Alvarez is] laid out, it would work,” Uribe said.

Edith Estrada-Contrevas, a freshman living at Laurel, pointed out that the gates surrounding the dormitory don’t lock as of yet, but that the dorm was overall safe.

“I’m pretty much always in my dorm. I love it. I honestly do feel safe most of the time,” Estrada-Contrevas said. “The doors don’t really lock yet, so that’s kind of an issue. But, apparently it’s not really security, they just lock the doors to separate Laurel Village from everything else … but overall it’s [a] pretty safe area.”

Estrada-Contrevas also noted that some of the dorms at Laurel tended to be in shabby conditions. 

“Some dorms are left a little worse than others but it’s luck of the draw when you sign up,” Estrada-Contrevas said.

Students at both dorms had mixed opinions about maintenance. While some students found the maintenance service to be helpful, some did not. 

Freshman Tazreen Islam expressed dissatisfaction over the maintenance at Alvarez.

“The maintenance is going to take forever to show up. So, even if you file the maintenance [request] right after [you] move in, they’re going to show up after like one to two months.” Islam said.

Estrada-Contrevas also described the maintenance at Laurel Village as being “a little iffy sometimes.”

Sophomore Salinas, on the other hand, expressed that the maintenance crew at Alvarez “help a lot and they’re really fast with responding.”

Mason Conkel, a senior living at Laurel Village, also expressed satisfaction with the maintenance at the dormitory and encouraged students to put in maintenance requests.

“Whenever I put in the maintenance request, it always comes in very quickly,” Conkel said. 

Many students, both at Alvarez and Laurel, expressed positive opinions about their move-in post-quarantine. 

“I was more excited than I was scared … I was just ready to get back into the regular groove of things you could say,” Soores said.

Freshman Max Bobadilla also expressed a similar excitement while also adding that moving on campus did initially seem scary.

“Yeah I was excited to get out of the house and everything. Yeah, in terms of the pandemic it was kind of scary at first but it’s good. I’m living with one other person, so it’s not too bad,” Bobadilla said. 

Salinas explained how moving on campus greatly improved the learning process and college experience. 

“It was really hard for me with online school and everything that I couldn’t really keep up with. It’s nice actually having in-person classes. Since I don’t have a car, I’m able to walk to class. That’s convenient,” Salinas said.

Salinas’ opinion about the convenience that on-campus dorms offer was also echoed by other students, including Islam, who noted that living on-campus means that “classes are closer.”

Senior Conkel, on the other hand, had a very different experience. Conkel has been living on-campus since fall of last year, when the pandemic was at its peak, and the atmosphere at Laurel Village was very different from what it is this semester. 

“It was definitely different because people were wary about even the people that they lived with. They didn’t want to contract anything. And it was a time of a lot of suspicion. So, you didn’t really get to talk to anybody. Everyone tried to keep to themselves. And now, I do see people … [and] more activity … I can definitely see that difference. It does get more active [now],” Conkel said. 

Students at both dorms also reminisced on their experience moving in and noted things they wished they had known when they first moved in.

“Keep your key on you at all times. You will get locked out,” Estrada-Contrevas said.

Atkinson encouraged future students to break out of their shell and meet new people.

“If you are a shy person, get out of your comfort zone and try to make friends,” Atkinson said. 

Despite when they moved in and all the inconveniences they faced, students expressed an overall positive experience about living at both Alvarez Hall and Laurel Village.

More information about the two dormitories as well as other on-campus living options can be found on UTSA’s website.