Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Res Hall Recap: RiverView


RiverView is one of the newest residence halls available for first-year students. It is located on North Avenue, just down the street from Cambridge Commons and across the street from Pick N’ Save. RiverView opened in 2008 and houses mostly first-year students (but is open to students of all stages of their college careers).

RiverView and Cambridge Commons are very similar in their suite set up. Each suite holds four residents (two in each room). Each suite has a bathroom, vanity with sink, and a walk-through closet leading into each room. The vanities are outside of the bathroom, which makes sharing a bathroom with others much easier. 

On each floor there are two lounges with chairs, a flat-screen television and a microwave for community use. There are also two study lounges on each floor. These rooms have internet hook ups and are perfect for study sessions. 

On the main floor (floor three) is a large lounge with a television, computers, a ping pong table, a work out facility, and the “C-Store”. The C-Store is the convenience store that is very similar to the Emporium located in Sandburg. You can buy any sort of junk food, candy, and drinks in the C-Store. On the lower floor of RiverView (floor two) are two classrooms, cafeteria, and laundry room. Outside of the cafeteria is a large patio with picnic tables. The cafe will hold themed dinners and cookouts when the weather is nice.

Because RiverView is the smallest residence hall, it is much quieter than the other two. When I first attended UWM, I lived in RiverView and it was a perfect match for me. By the end of the year I was able to recognize most of the people who lived in RiverView with me. I still see people around campus that I talked to a couple times on the shuttle and there is still a sense of community that I share with them.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Res Hall Recap: Cambridge Commons

Hey all. This week I will be posting everyday about a different residence hall that you could be placed in. I'll write about Riverview on Wednesday, Sandburg on Thursday, and Purin and Kenilworth on Friday. Enjoy!

Cambridge Commons

Cambridge Commons is the newest addition to University Housing’s Residence Halls. The first batch of residents lived in Cambridge in the 2010-2011 school year. Cambridge holds around 700 people in suite-style rooms. 

Cambridge has an in-building cafeteria where residents can use their meal plans. The Grind (the on-campus coffee shop) has its south campus location in Cambridge Commons as does a branch of the UWM bookstore. 

The layout of the suites is very similar to that of Riverview. Every suite includes its own bathroom. Cambridge is unique because each suite contains a full-sized refrigerator.  Each room includes a large walk-through closet to get into the room. All of the windows are extremely large and have a great view of the river, the courtyard, or the city. 

On every floor is a fully functional kitchen. There are several large countertops, stove, refrigerator, and a microwave. The kitchen is located in the lounge which has comfortable seating and a flatscreen television. It is the perfect location to study, hang out with friends, and cook a meal. 

On the first floor of Cambridge Commons are two classrooms, a small computer lab, some study rooms, laundry, and a workout room. LLC (Learning Living Community – see Zachery’s blog post) classes take place in the classrooms, as well as occasional exercise classes. 

Cambridge also has a large courtyard for various outdoor activities. RAs (Resident Assistants) have hosted programs such as flag football, ultimate Frisbee, and luaus. 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

LLCs and Communities

Summer is here, meaning a brand new school year is just around the corner. We just wanted to share some of our favorite things about living on-campus in University Housing. Throughout the summer we will be giving you “Things We Love About Housing!” One of my favorite things are the communities throughout the Residence Halls: whether you are in what we call Living Learning Communities (LLC) or not, one of our favorites things is building communities.

You are probably wondering what a Living Learning Community is? It is the chance for you to connect with people who share a similar major or interest. LLCs range from Business to Engineering or from Community Leadership to Creating Your Future, not to mention we have a LLC for countless forms of art including my favorite the Film, Video, and New Genres LLC. 

AS a member of an LLC, you can be a part of events and the conversations that are centered around that similar interest.  You don’t have to figure out what to talk about because you already have a starting point. Having lived in two LLCs, I know first-hand this really helps students make friends. My Film LLC started making videos together before they even stepped foot into a classroom and had already planned out a movie night the first night of move-in. 

(Film, Video, New Genres LLC '11) 

Living in a LLC gives you a lot of great opportunities to not only get connected to those who you live with but also to your academics. The LLC takes a class together with a professor who is connected to the program as well as a mentor, and you can’t forget your RA.  These are all great people who are a lot of help to make sure you are successful. The classes sizes are smaller and you can get direct guidance from your professor which is great when transitioning into that university classroom setting.  
Now, maybe an LLC isn’t right for you or the one you wanted was too full. Don’t worry because you will feel connected to any community you are in. Each community has a Resident Assistant that works to make sure you feel at home whether that comes by offering you advice, answering questions, planning events or just hanging out. There is a RA in every community so whether your community is 34 or 72 you always have someone to go to.  
Our communities are all suite style in short that means you have a semi-private bathroom so no fear you don’t have to walk down a hall in just a towel or be showing with several other people. Depending where you live in Sandburg you can be sharing that bathroom with up to five people where RiverView and Cambridge Commons you only have to share it with three. The downside of it all is you have to learn how to clean your own bathroom, something my suitemates took a little while to learn how to do. So while you are preparing to go school shopping add some toilet paper to the list because you do not want to be the one in the suite no one likes because they don’t buy any toilet paper, trust me its true. 
Now each building is set up a little different so be sure to check out them all and don’t just take someone's word on which is better, make that call for yourself. One thing each community does have however is the lounge. The ultimate hangout place in your community, that's how I made all my friends by going out and watching TV in the lounge. Its a great place to watch a movie, catch your favorite TV show, or even get some homework done with some group study sessions. Who are we kidding -- that’s what the study lounge is for -- hangout sessions.  This is also the prime location your RA will be hosting events just for your community, so take advantage of the learning opportunity, free food, free things, and most importantly the new friends! 
All the opportunities are out there for you to get connected and feel at home. Everyone here in University Housing works hard to give you the tools you need to be successful. Its really up to you to put yourself out there and take advantage of all that there is to be offered. That may mean taking the step and signing up for a LLC or maybe its making sure you try to get to know your RA, maybe its more simple like watching TV in your lounge. Whatever you are most comfortable with do it because getting involved in the community is what truly sets you up for success! 

Student Success Center

Transitioning from high school to college is huge. Everything changes, and I mean everything. All of your belongings have to fit into one room that you share with someone else; your parents don’t know where you are every second of every day; you are living in a new city; and, suddenly you are responsible for yourself. When I first started college I was somewhat braced for all of these things, but what hit me the hardest was academics and meeting people. I’m not going to lie to you; I wasn’t that great of a student in high school. I thought college wasn’t going to be much different, but I was wrong. It wasn’t until later in my college career that I learned about how many resources the university offers, especially to first-years. The Student Success Center (formerly known as the First-Year Center), is an on-campus resource that I wish I had known about and utilized.

The mission statement given by the Student Success Center is: "The purpose of the Student Success Center is to coordinate an intentionally-designed, comprehensive array of programs, resources, and services that guide students to degree completion at UWM through promoting academic goal-setting, skill development, personal transitions to the university setting, and effective decision-making." They target first-years, transfer students, and adults coming back to school. Basically they cover it all and if they don’t, they will connect you to the people who do.

Basically these students are the know-it-alls of the University and I mean that in the best way possible. I had a friend that was a student mentor last year and he always knew the best things that were happening around campus. He helped me find a place to volunteer and found us $2 tickets to see a show at the planetarium. Needless to say I was pretty disappointed when he graduated this year because I don’t know how I’m going to get the inside scoop anymore. (I know I’m being selfish, but I actually really proud of him too.)

The Student Success Center works with other organizations and offices around campus to make sure that students have the best experience possible. They worked with University Housing to create LLCs (Living Learning Communities). If you live in an LLC, you live with people who have the same interests as you and you take a class together. Boom! Automatic friends. I can say this from personal experience. Having a class in the building you live in is AWESOME! (Check out Zachery’s blog post to learn more about LLCs.) They also worked with PASS (Panther Academic Support Services) to provide tutors in the library for a lot of the basic required classes. I personally used tutoring for English, Math, and Logic. The SSC worked with several professors to put on first-year seminars, which are exclusive classes, intended to help transition you into the college level mindset. The classes are smaller in size and broader in scope, in the sense that they are intended to enhance your skills (inquiry and analysis, critical and creative thinking, oral and written communication) and engage you in reflection about the process of learning at the college level.

My first year it took me a while to get connected, but eventually I found my place. I think it would have been much easier if I had found the SSC. I have been working with them for the past couple of years and I can vouch that they are really nice people who are only focused on helping you out. If I could go back and use the Student Success Center or if they would let me now, I would.
The Student Success Center is located in Bolton 120. You can contact them at or find them on Facebook and Twitter. If you go to the UWM homepage and type in “Student Success Center” into the search bar, it will take you to their homepage.

Getting Around Milwaukee

There is so much to explore in Milwaukee.  Don’t feel confined to only explore within walking distance!  All UWM students receive a UPass at the beginning of every semester, which they can use to ride any Milwaukee County Transit bus.  A UPass is a sticker on your student ID that you show the bus drivers.  I use my UPass all the time to take the 21 to Mayfair Mall, but it took me a little while to get used to the bus system.  There’s almost nowhere in Milwaukee that you can’t get to by bus. 

Here’s a quick MCTS how-to:

1)      Go to and enter your starting location, your destination, and the time you are planning on leaving for your destination.
2)      Make sure you know what route number you need to take.  Also, be aware if you have to switch buses during your trip. 
3)      Wait at the bus stop for the bus.   The bus stop will have the route number written on the sign.   If there is more than one bus route at a stop, check the electronic sign on the front of the bus to see what route it’s traveling.  Also, make sure you are on the correct side of the street.  If you are on the wrong side, you will travel in the opposite direction of where you want to go.  If you are not sure, just ask the bus driver.
4)      Enter the bus in the front doors and flash your UPass to the driver.
5)      Know what stop you are getting off on.  It’s a good idea to pay attention to the cross-streets.  When you are ready to get off, pull on the yellow cord by the windows.  This will signal to the driver that you are getting off at the next stop.
6)      Exit the bus through the rear doors.

That’s all you have to do to ride MCTS.  It may be confusing at first, but all you have to do is ask if you aren’t sure.
                Although there is a lot to do in Milwaukee, you may want to get out of town for a while.  Maybe take a day trip to Chicago or Madison.  Every Friday and Sunday, the Badger Bus picks up from the Union and drives to Madison, with a few stops along the way.  It only costs $10 to ride!  The Badger Bus runs every day of the week, although you would have to go downtown to catch it Monday through Thursday.  If you feel like going to the Windy City, you could take short train ride.  You can easily take a weekend and travel down to Chicago for pretty cheap.  (You’ll probably need all the money you can save to go shopping on the Magnificent Mile, anyways!)  You can take the bus down to the Amtrak station downtown, and you’ll be on your way.  Have fun exploring Milwaukee and our neighboring cities!    

Meet the Outreach Assistants

 Hey All!  We are the Outreach Assistants in University Housing at UWM.  Our jobs are to answer your questions, give tours, work at New Student Orientation, and update all the social media in Housing.  Please ask us any questions that you might have about anything related to University Housing, UWM, and life in Milwaukee. If we don’t have the answer to your question, we probably know someone who does.  Can’t wait to see you at Orientation!

Connie Nimmo

Watertown, WI

Hi!  My name is Connie.  This fall, I will start my third year at UWM. I am a Linguistics major in the College of Letters and Sciences. I chose UWM because it is one of only two UW-system schools that has a Linguistics program.  I love studying language and traveling.  I aspire to travel the world.  This is also my third year working for University Housing. I began in August 2010 as security in University Housing's newest building, Cambridge Commons, where I lived. A semester later, I was hired to be a Resident Assistant in RiverView Residence Hall. Although I love traveling the world, the east side of Milwaukee is easily my favorite place to explore. Even after two years of living in Milwaukee, I still have a lot to see.  I've been working for University Housing in Outreach since 2010. I’m excited about this summer, especially New Student Orientation.  UWM and University Housing has some new and exciting changes from years past.  I was one of the first residents to write for the Life @ UWM Blog and am very excited to continue.  Chat with me on Facebook!  Make sure you check out Zachery and Leya's blog posts, too!

Leya Ruchti

McFarland, WI

Hello. My name is Leya (yes, like the princess from Star Wars). I am a senior with one year to go! Don’t believe the lie that you can’t get it done in four years. I am a Communication major with an emphasis on Health Communication. My first year at UWM I lived in Riverview, was part of the Visual Arts LLC (Living Learning Community) and worked in Sandburg for the Program Services Office. For the past two years I have lived off-campus but have continued to work for University Housing. My past job as an Event Assistant was a lot of making copies, crafts, office tasks, and large-scale event programming. I have DJ-ed dance parties, karaoke, and played movies in the Sandburg movie theater. Now I work as an Outreach Assistant for University Housing and get to spend my days blogging, giving tours, and stuffing envelopes. I’m looking forward to sharing my experiences at UWM, in University Housing, and just my life in Milwaukee. If you have any questions or blog topic ideas, please do not hesitate to comment. If you would like to contact me via facebook here is my page. May the force be with you.

Zachery Holder
Verona, WI

My name is Zachery. I am a soon to be alumnus of UWM,   graduating with a BFA in Film.  I have been a part of the Residence Halls the past 4 years. The first year I lived in the Residence Halls, I was a first year student in Sandburg.  The following three years I was a student employee working as a Resident Assistant, Paint Crew, Program Specialist, and  Outreach Assistant. I also had the opportunity to be President of our NRHH (National Residence Hall Honorary) Panther Chapter. I have lived in 4 different halls including traditional Sandburg Towers, East Tower, and Purin Hall! I have loved my experience here at UWM and in University Housing. I get to share all my experiences, stories, and favorites here for the summer and I have plenty of them to go around so enjoy it!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Welcome Back!

Welcome to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Life @ UWM blog. Here you will read what our students (and occasionally our staff) have to say about University Housing, UWM, Milwaukee, or just residence life, in general.

In University Housing, we are proud to have wonderful student employees. Did you know we hire over 300 student-employees each year (academic year and summer)? This summer, some of our more experienced student staff members will be writing blog entries to give our readers a glimpse of life around UWM during the summer. Others are working on tour videos of each of our buildings, so you get a feel for them before making your first visit to campus. Here's a teaser for the videos they are currently working on.

We were proud to see so many of our students (over 3,700) have their degrees conferred at our Commencement Exercises, held last weekend at the U.S. Cellular Arena, downtown. But now that we’ve sent our most recent group of alumni into the world, it’s time to turn the page to the entering class for Fall 2012.

If you are entering in Fall 2012, remember: we have a summer full of New Student Orientations, Preview Days, Move-In and Fall Welcome to complete before we start the Fall semester. Our goal for this blog is to continue those experiences and provide a wider-lens look at life at UWM, beyond the one or two-day Orientation or Preview experiences you may have had previously. We are excited for you to join us in August, and call University Housing your home.

To the rest of our guests and readers: please share your thoughts and recollections. UWM is a great community, and the wisdom of those who have experience around campus and around Milwaukee is always appreciated.

In the meantime, click on the YouTube video above for a quick glance at our University Housing facilities.