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UCLA Magazine Winter 2002
It's not your parents dorm anymore
Outside the Ivory Tower
A beautiful Mind
The Long March
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Winter 2002
It's not your parents dorm anymore

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The demand for on-campus housing has become so great that putting three students in a room, rather than two, now is the norm for incoming freshmen. ("It's not our preference to have students living in this kind of density for any extended period of time," says Alan Hanson Ed.D. '71, director of the Office of Residential Life, "and we're doing everything we can to resolve it so that it's not a situation that is with us for very long.")

In spite of the crowding, some 94 percent of each year's approximately 4,200 incoming freshmen and 70 percent of returning second-years elect to live in UCLA's four high-rise residence halls, two residential-suite complexes, the three Sunset Village buildings and the new DeNeve Plaza community, all neatly tucked into the northwest corner of campus referred to as The Hill.

Certainly the drudgery of negotiating L.A. traffic and the difficulty of finding parking once you get here has contributed to the trend, but there's more these days to the desire for a Hill address than mere convenience.

THE DEBUT OF SUNSET VILLAGE in 1991 reinvigorated The Hill and set in motion an evolution that is continuing today, a transition away from an aggregation of disconnected residence halls to a true residential community.

The Village — three smaller buildings, each of a distinct design by a different well-known architect and arrayed around a broad central courtyard anchored by the modern-Romanesque Covel Commons — was created to incorporate living space, classrooms, counseling offices, computer facilities and recreational areas. There's even a separate auditorium for live performances, films and lectures. The goal of campus planners was to provide undergraduate students with more than just a place to live while attending UCLA; their intent was to create a hilltop environment that would help to quickly integrate students, particularly freshmen, into the academic life of the university.

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