Click to read about the best places to eat on campus, freshman packing tips, and how to keep in touch with friends.

New residence halls will house freshmen, learning communities

A new apartment complex will fill the need for more space in the University’s learning communities, said USF housing officials.

The Juniper and Poplar Halls, located on Magnolia Drive and Beard Drive, will open in early August, said Elizabeth Kaplon, assistant director of Academic Initiatives and Housing.

“Most of the construction is done but the furnishing and flooring is yet to be completed,” she said.

The majority of residents living in the halls will be freshmen, said Dorothy Paine, director of Housing and Residential Education.

USF’s learning communities allow freshmen to complete their general education requirements within their first two years along with 50 other students.

“What we are trying to do with learning communities is to help the learning process by taking it outside the classroom,” Paine said.

Students who are members of the Bulls Business Community, Engineering
Living and Learning Community and Honors College also qualify to live in the halls.

In previous years these learning communities were housed in the Cypress Hall, Maple Hall and the Andros area.

The Juniper and Poplar Halls are pairs of seven-floor towers. Each pair is connected by a cafeteria and will feature suite-style rooms and a kitchen on every floor. The residence halls will also have a Starbucks, faculty offices and three classrooms.

There will be approximately 18 classes taught in the residence halls. Kaplon said courses include business, engineering, history and other honors seminar classes.

Most of the classes offered in the halls will be freshman- and sophomore-level courses, she said.

As part of the learning community, a USF faculty member will live among the residents.

“The purpose is to have students interact with faculty and stay at the University for longer,” Paine said.

Kaplon said faculty members living on campus will teach and have special evening programs biweekly about academic success.

Paine said the new halls were originally referred to as Magnolia Hall II, but the names were changed to Juniper and Poplar after a student vote in the spring.

Beginning in the fall, all incoming freshmen are required to live on campus unless they live fewer than 50 miles away.

Students who are married or over the age of 21 and reside within Hillsborough, Pasco or Pinellas County are exempt from the rule.

Paine said the residence halls are almost filled to their maximum occupancy of 1,050 beds, but a few beds will be available for last-minute contracts.