Student Housing East has become the ‘college experience’ for freshman and sophomores

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Genesis Gonzalez

The dorms at Cal State LA accommodate about 1,500 students. Photo was taken on August 27, 2021.

Genesis Gonzalez, Reporter

Cal State LA freshmen and sophomores looking forward to the college experience are brought together by the new dorms.

“It is a home away from home,” said Danae Rodriguez Castro, a criminal justice major who said living on-campus gave her the chance to be independent and live with friends.

David Noriega, a Television Film and Media Studies major from San Diego, also considers his dorm to be his home away from home.

Noriega finds the new buildings to be very community-oriented. “You can make new friends at the dorms,” he said. “It can be anywhere, even the laundry room.”

Ruby Rivas, a psychology major from Temecula, said she is looking forward to “making friends and having that experience.” She added that it has been a fun experience so far filled with games and community bonding activities.

Living at Cal State LA can be a big part of the college experience but it comes with a cost. In the South Village, the cost of a single-bedroom dorm is around $12,574 for the academic year. For many students paying with financial aid, scholarships, or out-of-pocket, this can be costly.

Castro is paying out- of- pocket but she said she will use her financial aid once it’s available. Castro and her roommate each pay around $6,200 for their single-bedroom dorm.

Noriega qualifies for the College Fee Waiver for veteran dependents due to his dad’s veteran status. “The CalVet program allows me to attend any CSU or UC with my tuition paid [for] by the government,” he said. His tuition being fully covered gives his family the financial flexibility to not take out loans.

Students at the dorms have access to meal plans at the Village Cafe, which features a diverse buffet of options. The Village Cafe also hosts exclusive dining events and themed meals as part of a limited-time offer.

Castro opted for the 7-day meal plan. “I get unlimited swipes 7 days per week,” she said. “That one is more expensive, but you won’t have to go out to buy food.”

Noriega noted his struggle with adjusting to eating at set hours of the day. Being used to working late, he did not have time to eat later in the day.

Though students have made the best out of their living situations they were not expecting to hear loud noises while living in the dorms.

“It’s been almost every week that the fire alarms go off,” said Castro. “I’m not sure what causes [it] but they go off at different times.” She said that they often go off at night and as early as 8 a.m.

Noriega also touched on the fire alarms going off at the dorms, saying “the fire alarms are pretty frequent and annoying because they’ve always been cleared within 20 minutes.”

Many students have said that they feel safe as they navigate moving back to the dorms during this pandemic.