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Holy Names shows hospitality to overbooked neighbor

Helping students succeed at Saint Mary's College

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placeholder September 5, 2016   •   VOL. 54, NO. 15   •   Oakland, CA
College Information Guide
The Holy Names University faculty and staff led the HNU Class of 2020 through the Rite of Passage ceremony Aug. 20 on the Oakland campus. The 106 stair-climb marks the beginning of the HNU experience for new students and symbolizes their educational journey through an ascent from the Corrigan Courtyard in the lower part of campus to the McLean Chapel at the top of the hill. Right, before this celebration, members of HNU's sophomore, junior, and senior classes inscribe each new student's name in pastel chalk on the steps.
COURTESY PHOTOs

Holy Names shows hospitality to overbooked neighbor

Two East Bay universities — both founded in 1868 — are joining forces to fill needs.

UC-Berkeley was faced with an abundance of first-year students, overwhelming its residence hall capacity. Holy Names University, seven miles away in the Oakland hills, found itself with room to spare.

About 400 of Holy Names University's 1,200 students live in its four residence halls. The campus enrolls about 600 undergraduates, with the remaining 600 divided between the graduate school and adult degree students.

UC-Berkeley's enrollment is almost 38,000, including 27,000 undergraduates. Incoming first-year students are guaranteed housing.

In January, representatives from UC-Berkeley "started the conversation," said Justin Vacca, director of housing and residence life at Holy Names University. The creative solution they reached results in 50 University of California students living at Feehan Hall.

The arrangement offers the Cal students, most of whom are continuing students, "the best of both worlds," Villa said.

The UC students and the HNU students live on separate floors, but will share common areas.

Although it is anticipated the UC-Berkeley students will be away the most of the day from their Holy Names home, they are required to hold a modified meal plan that provides eight meals a week. They can purchase additional meals on campus. Holy Names' full meal plan provides 19 meals a week.

The amenities available to Holy Names University students on campus are being offered to the Cal contingent. That includes use of the library and gym, as well as internet, cable and printing services.

Transportation between the campuses is being facilitated. "Our plan is to shuttle 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays to Fruitvale BART," Villa said.

From the Fruitvale station, BART estimates a 17-minute ride to the downtown Berkeley station, a city block from the campus's West Gate. AC Transit buses also serve the Oakland campus, Villa said.

The Berkeley students are also eligible to purchase a parking permit on the Holy Names campus, Villa said.

Among the differences the students will find in living on the quieter campus, Villa said, is that "we do have students ranging in ages." Berkeley students rarely find upperclassmen living in residence halls.

"We have a lot of juniors and seniors living on campus," he said.

The Holy Names residence halls are four separate buildings, but they are connected. One of the halls, Founders Hall, houses students 21 years and older.

In Feehan Hall, students live in double rooms and in some suite-style rooms, with two double rooms sharing a common space. According to UC-Berkeley, the cost of the double room — $12,500 per resident — is less than a comparable double room on the Berkeley campus.

The Cal students will also find what Villa describes as a "tight-knit community." They will have the opportunity, he said, "to get to know a lot of students."

Although this is the first venture with UC-Berkeley, Villa said Holy Names partnered with Merritt College to offer housing a few years ago. Additionally, a half-dozen students who started at Holy Names but transferred to the Samuel Merritt School of Nursing continue to live on the Mountain Boulevard campus.

The Holy Names first-year and transfer students will move in Aug. 20. Their Cal counterparts will move in the next day, which coincides with move-in on the Berkeley campus.

"We want them to feel as connected to Holy Names as possible," he said.

After they move in, the first-year Holy Names University students will embark on an intensive four-day orientation program. There's emphasis on academics and transition to college, Villa said, and many activities planned to help them feel at home in the Bay Area.

"We want people to enjoy their time here, in and out of college," Villa said. To that end, there will be excursions to Bay Area sites, including an Oakland A's game, and an on-campus pep rally.

The students will also find "residence life programs that engage them, challenge them and support them," Villa said.

One new aspect of that is themed housing, which will be implemented on every floor occupied by Holy Names students, with the exception of Founders Hall.

The themes for this year: fandom and gaming; outdoor recreation and sustainable living; visual and performing arts; Hawk Housing (school pride); social justice; interfaith and spirituality issues; quiet lifestyle and substance free; science; and emerging leaders.

"I hope students feel so connected that they remain on that floor the whole time they're here," Villa said. "I want them to leave the residential life experience saying, 'I'm so glad I lived there.'"

 
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