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Not much privacy in central, social Warren Towers, residents say

This is the first in a series of articles exploring next year’s housing options for Boston University students.

From her room in Warren Towers, Claire Hilmer can ‘get to class in three minutes, depending on the elevators.’

Hilmer, a College of Arts and Sciences freshman, said the ‘sense of community’ makes Warren the ideal place to live as a freshman.

Warren Towers, located directly across from the College of Arts and Sciences, is home to 1,800 students for nine months of the year. By far the largest dorm on campus, Warren has three towers with a computer lab, fitness room, music practice room, study lounge, smoking lounge, laundry room, mail room, cinema room, games room and, most importantly, a dining hall.

‘I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else as a freshman,’ Hilmer said, but ‘the sophomores who live here … keep to themselves. So you’d lose the sense of community.’

Karen Belanger, Office of Residence Life Warren Towers area director said the dorm is ‘predominantly first-year students, but there are a fair number of sophomores [and a few upperclassmen]. Most make their way to A tower because the East side of the tower has the city view.’

Most floors have more than 40 students, Belanger said, with two quads, two singles and 19 doubles on most floors. Each floor shares two common bathrooms, one on each side of the tower. Most floors are coed by side of tower, although some floors are all female.

This is the last semester for the large ‘corner doubles’ coveted during spring housing selection. According to Belanger, the corner rooms will become triples next year.

Cristina Zamora, a freshman in the School of Management, said Warren’s ‘friendliness’ was a positive factor, though that friendliness takes some privacy away.

‘You meet a lot of people in Warren … but you’re on top of everybody,’ Zamora said, especially in a quad. ‘You really don’t get privacy in Warren Towers.’

And, Zamora said, since the common areas on each floor tend to be used socially, there is not a lot of study space.

But not all students like the social atmosphere of Warren.

Katherine Thomas, a College of Communication freshman, said that while she met a lot of people in Warren, ‘you get really distracted.’ Students joke that their GPAs have gone down from living in Warren, she said.

Dimitra Theodoropulos, an SMG freshman, agreed, saying ‘the quads are immensely small,’ which makes it hard to study because ‘it’s always noisy.’ Theodoropulos said he is moving off campus next year, and Warren Towers is his ‘number one reason why.’

As a sophomore, CAS student Desiree Pujari chose to remain in Warren Towers after her freshman year. With a bad lottery number, she chose a corner double.

‘I don’t like how they mix smoking and non-smoking rooms … right next to each other,’ she said, or the ‘insane noise in the common rooms.’

However, the dorm has other benefits, residents say.

‘[Warren’s] location is the best,’ said Hakan Ozgun, a freshman in the College of Engineering.

Ozgun was moved to Warren from the Hyatt for the spring semester. But after the Hyatt, he said, the lack of television reception is ridiculous.

‘We have no cable,’ he said, ‘and regular TV reception is two channels, and one is the Spanish channel.’

Students said they imagine health issues in Warren are the result of so many students living together.

‘With so many people packed together in Warren, there’s got to be germs everywhere … I mean, think how many people touched that elevator button,’ said Susan Johnston, a COM freshman, who has been sick several times this winter.

Students report illness spreading through entire floors due to the common bathrooms, each serving more than 20 students.

With 14 residential floors in each tower, keeping all of the elevators working becomes a central concern, other students said.

Security measures and fire alarms also frustrate students in Warren, as in other parts of campus.

Priya Singh, a CAS freshman, said he liked the security offered by the entrance-way security guards, but voiced popular exasperation with the guest policy, which is strictly enforced. A single security booth provides the only entry and exit point for all 1,800 residents.

Elan Sobel, a College of General Studies freshman, said the worst thing about Warren is the fire alarms, which occur with some frequency due to the high density of residents.

‘We all get left outside,’ Sobel said. ‘At 3 a.m. in my boxers in the snow.’

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