The class of 2014 moved into the newest housing complex, Cougar Village, in August 2010. SeolHee Lee
THE NEW FISH POND
University opens housing project exclusively for freshmen and honors students
By Darlene Campos
In August 2010, the freshman class of 2014 moved in to the
University's newest housing complex — Cougar Village.
"In our quest to become a Tier One University, we needed to
provide the right environment to our freshmen population," Interim
Executive Director Javier Hidalgo said. "Cougar Village adds to the
environment we already have on campus."
The seven-story, 1,000-room building was originally intended
to house only incoming freshmen in order to promote unity among
the newest Cougars. Administrators later made the decision to include students from the Honors College in the new dorms.
The $50 million residence hall is a part of UH's Freshman
Year Residential Experience; its objective is to ease the transition
of incoming freshmen into college life. Students participating in
FYRE have the advantages of moving in a week earlier than other
students and being mentored or tutored by one of the two peer
leaders assigned to each floor.
Cougar Village also features themed floors that allow students
of the same major to live alongside one another. Cougar Village
has floors dedicated to business, engineering and technology,
communication, community service and honors.
"Theme housing is not a unique concept. It already existed on
campus and in other universities. We expanded this concept to
support the academic mission of the university," Hidalgo said.
Students pay $2,475 per semester for a double room or
$3,218 for a single room. That makes a yearly rate of $4,950
Cougar Village houses 1,132 students who have access to a
computer lab, gym, laundry room, mail room, multipurpose room,
a living-learning room, seminar room and a security desk for student safety. Each floor also contains two public kitchens, two
study rooms and two student lounges.
"I love the rooms; the square footage is very nice," said biology
freshman Aneice King. "I like that it's a safe building. For example, you have to swipe your card to use the elevators, and guests
have to check in, too. It's a clean building, great floor plans, very
sociable. The gyms are clean, all the equipment works, the kitchens are clean, and it's a very spacious place to live."
Yet, King added, the building is not without a few glitches.
"I chose to live here because it was a new place, but I think
it was built too fast since things to tend to break a lot here," King
said. "The walls are also very thin and you can hear what's going
on next door."
But for freshmen looking to hit the ground running in an altogether new environment, Cougar Village might be just the key to
giving them a leg up on their peers.
"It's a great environment," pharmacy freshman Chibuike
Prince Nnaji said. "I don't see any cons. I'm an RA, so I help teach
other freshmen to watch who they're hanging with. I was actually
placed to live here and I'm really glad I was."
 -nside the Pride