Back-to-school for thousands of students at the University of Connecticut as the move-in started Friday.
UConn opened its first new dorm on campus in 13 years and welcomed it's most diverse freshman class yet, according to the university.
NextGen Hall is part of UConn's push to build science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, enrollment UConn officials said 50 percent of the students living here are engineering undergrads. It's doing it in the form of one of the tallest buildings in Storrs.
"I'm so excited, nervous a little anxious but mostly excited, super happy," UConn freshman Ivy Grace said.
Grace applied for a room in the new “engineering house." She said she feels like she lucked out getting into the NextGen Hall.
"It will be good to have people around me, who also know what’s going on, same classes, same type of schedule," Grace said. "So it will be good.”
The building represents the first time UConn has built a residence hall focused on faculty-led learning communities where students can get a small college feel studying with others in their major while living with them.
Learning Communities housed in NextGen Hall:
There are currently 30 such communities on the Storrs campus, of which eight will be housed in NextGen Hall.
Nearly half of incoming freshmen opted to join a learning community, and many continue through their sophomore year. NextGen Hall represents the first time UConn has constructed a residence hall specifically for learning communities.
Jordan Burgess, of New Haven, also notched a spot in UConn’s coveted new hall, one of about 700 who, by the end of the weekend will call Next Gen home.
“The workload can get pretty strenuous and it's pretty nice,” Burgess said. “There's people going through the same things that I'm going through.”
As the students move in, so will thousands of others.
A total of 12,600 undergraduates will cram into Storrs with freshman starting at 8 a.m.
According to UConn enrollment records, 37 percent of its freshman class are minorities, which is up from 14 percent 20 years ago.
"it's nice to know that things are changing and minorities are on the come-up,” Burgess said.
Before these dorms ever opened, controversy swirled regarding the Scholars House. A floor in the building catering to African American male students. UConn stresses that any student can apply and students can live on any floor.
Classes for undergraduates start on Monday.
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