Residence Hall is Anything But Idle in First Summer
New Facility Opens Doors to Student Camps and Academic Conferences
When the 2009-2010 academic year ended and the first occupants of the new Residence Hall at University Village moved out for the summer, the 400-bed, 148,000-square-foot facility didn’t remain unoccupied for long.
Plans for the freshman digs had been in the works for quite some time.
Staffers from the Office of Residential Life already had set up new Residential Camp & Conference Services for faculty and staff who wanted to offer state-of-the-art accommodations for their summer campers, conference attendees and visiting scholars. The Residence Hall provided the perfect backdrop to do so without the hassle of having to coordinate furnishings, separate meal plans, laundry service and every other little detail that comes with having overnight guests.
“Faculty members who host academic programs and other events might have liked to have a residential option in the past,” said Ryan White, director of residential life. “Since the apartments weren’t conducive to it, they shied away.”
With these ideas in mind, White and his staff created a one-stop shop for residential summer camps and conferences. “With the Residence Hall, not only do we have this great building to show off, but we can give camp directors the platform to develop their programs and to show camp participants a fantastic experience.”
Pam McElrath, assistant director of residential life, heads up the day-to-day operations. “She’s worked hard to make sure that the camp program directors don’t have to go one place to pay for the campers’ accommodations and then another to pay for meals,” White said. “Instead, they can just come to Pam and she can arrange the entire experience for them.”
M0re than 800 residents have been booked this summer for two dozen residential camps and conferences. Ever since summer began, the facility has been buzzing with the activity of its summer residents, including the first cohort of UT Dallas’ residential volleyball campers.
“As the date approached, we began to get nervous,” said Comets’ head volleyball coach Marci Sanders. “But, with the guidance of Residential Life, everything ran smoothly. During the planning phase, Pam and Ryan were flexible, patient and informative. They met with our department to iron out the details and to provide all the information that we’d need to get organized. Pam’s correspondence was top-notch.”
All in all, staff members not only delivered but far surpassed the experience that they had promised to Sanders. “Checking in and checking out was efficient,” she said. “The student workers were friendly and outgoing, asking if they could be of any assistance. Our campers were complimentary of the Residence Hall and said our accommodations here are much better than other camps they’d attended. Some played billiards and did laundry, and were grateful that it was free. Many of them said they will be back next year. This was the best volleyball camp we’ve had since we started them in 2004. We’re already looking forward to next summer.”
The 148,000-square-foot Residence Hall accepted its first students last fall and has been host to dozens of campers this summer.
SOM Camp Gives Teens Tools to Create iPhone Applications
The UT Dallas School of Management hosted the iPhone Application Camp this summer to allow students to dream up their own mobile communications applications.
The 13 students who attended the weeklong camp learned the fundamentals of designing and building mobile applications, said Dr. Mark Thouin, camp director and director of the school’s Management Information Systems program.
“The demand for these applications is growing every day,” Thouin said. “What we wanted to do was to stimulate these students’ minds and possibly open a new vista of opportunities for their careers.”
Students from area private and public schools designed such programs as a gardening application that allows users to upload photos of flowers, shrubs, trees and grass.
Jocelyn Son-Hing designed a pre-calculus homework helper. “If you’re in the band and on the bus, you can study without having to take all your notes,” said the Plano Senior High School senior.
On the last day of camp, participants presented their creations before a panel of judges.
The winner? Spot the Difference, a game designed for players to distinguish the difference between two nearly identical pictures. Developer David Dunsky showed judges various photos he had uploaded, including one T-shirt with a small stain on it and one without.
“Have you ever had to stand in line for hours? This is just a fun little way to pass time,” said the junior at Yavneh Academy. “It can keep little kids entertained, and it’s also great for older people trying to retain their memory.”
“It’s very addictive; I promise you,” Dunsky said.
News Contact: Kris Imherr, UT Dallas School of Management, (972)883-4793, [email protected]
Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].