Life In The 7000 Building
SCC’s student housing project doesn’t just provide students a place to live: It promotes the idea that a more traditional college experience is possible at 2-year institutions.
On Sept. 14-15 (the official move-in days), SCC’s 7000 Building opened its doors to approximately 210 students, with 51% being international students and 49% being domestic students. SCC joins 15 other Washington-state community colleges that offer living accommodations for their students.
So far, the residence hall is 89.5% leased, interim Chief Financial Officer Bill Saraceno said in the Oct. 11 budget meeting.
“Honestly, I never thought it would happen,” Saraceno said, congratulating staff on almost maxing out occupancy.
One month in, some of the students living in the 7000 Building are striving to adjust to a lifestyle that is still foreign to them. For others, having to share a living space is nothing new.
Photos by: Lance Allegro / The Ebbtide
Residents of the 7000 Building also enjoy communal bonding activities organized by the Resident Assistants (RAs) every week, like speed friending (a G-rated version of speed dating) and grocery bingo. However, these are only accessible to dorm residents.
RAs are student employees who help organize bonding activities, resolve internal disputes, enforce dorm rules and lend an ear to homesick residents.
To Mashaal Shameem, a first year student at SCC, becoming an RA was like “coming full circle.”
“Being in a position where I’m able to pass on what I’ve learnt in my short time here, engaging with new people and learning about their cultures and backstories are all primary reasons that pushed me to become an RA,” Shameem says.
The goal of her responsibilities is to “provide an outlet for everyone to de-stress during the weekend” and “find something new they might not know they enjoyed doing whilst engaging with other residents.”
Like many of her fellow dorm residents, Shameem is new to living in a communal environment. However, she has enjoyed her first month living in the 7000 Building.
“I like to think about all the memories I’ve already created,” she says. “And we’re not even halfway into the quarter yet!”
The Dorm Experience
Fernanda Sandoval, a domestic first quarter student who plans to major in law, is not only living in a shared space for the first time, but also away from home.
Sandoval lives in a 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom dorm with three other people.
“It’s a little stressful to have to work around somebody in a shared space, especially when I’ve never had to do that,” Sandoval says. “There’s no privacy.”
However, she also highlights the positives of being in a dorm. “Living here makes it feel like I’m going to a 4-year (university) instead of a 2-year.”
Sandoval also says it’s easier for her to make friends and assimilate to her new life while living in a residence hall. She says activities like playing video games and cooking together with her roommates almost every night make living in her home-away-from-home more of a traditional college experience.
Anika Leung, an international student from Hong Kong currently enrolled in the high school completion program, lives with three other people. However, this isn’t new for her.
“I lived in dorms for two years in Macau, which is a one-hour ferry ride from Hong Kong, so I have dorm experience,” she says. “My roommates are very nice, they clean their stuff and sometimes even mine without asking.”
Leung also values the sense of community that comes with living in the dorms, and that she appreciates seeing familiar faces every time she walks down from her room to the lobby.
However, she has a few gripes with some aspects of the services offered in the dorms, like the internet, which she says is lackluster.
“Also, the mattresses are so hard,” Leung says. “My back has been hurting for a week.”
Looking to the Future
SCC expects to break even on its investment in housing very soon, according to Saraceno, and considering the general approval of the first generation of 7000 Building residents, that goal may very well be attainable.