N.U.in students housed in Midtown Hotel

N.U.in students housed in Midtown Hotel
The Midtown Hotel, located close to the Prudential Center and downtown Boston, is now serving as a residence hall for N.U.in students. / Photo by Alex Melagrano

By Hugh Shirley and Claire Wallace, news staff

As a result of Northeastern University’s ongoing housing shortage, approximately 60 N.U.in students moved into the Midtown Hotel on Huntington Avenue at the beginning of the spring semester.

According to a university statement, the property was selected because of its close proximity to campus and other popular student destinations, such as the Prudential Center.

This unconventional situation has elicited mixed opinions from students. While some are excited about the comparatively large room size and choice of roommate, others say they would prefer to live on campus.

“We realize that N.U.in kids don’t get the best housing opportunities, so we just thought it was fine,” said Stephen Holt, a first-year finance major.

Northeastern housing officials told students via email several months into their N.U.in semester that they could choose to move into the Midtown Hotel instead of a traditional dorm on campus. At a cost of $4,340, the double rooms in the hotel are the same price as a standard double in any other first-year dorm.

Comparable rooms are currently available at the Midtown, a two-star hotel, for about $250 per night, meaning the students who live there are doing so at a considerable discount. Each double comes with a private bathroom and shower, something many first-year dorms on campus lack.

“I’ve been to rooms in East Village and IV and they’re pretty small. I like all of the space we have here,” said Brandon Wang, a first-year combined business and computer engineering major.

The rooms also came equipped with TVs, mini fridges and microwaves at no extra cost, along with the standard Northeastern desks and chairs. Many students at the Midtown also have their own full size beds as opposed to the twin XL beds and mattresses Northeastern provides in its residence halls.

“I know when my sister was a freshman here, she lived in normal on-campus housing, and this room is a lot larger than that,” said Ronald Rajan, a first-year bioengineering major.

One of the perks of the Midtown Hotel is the larger bed size compared to average freshman housing. / Photo by Alex Melagrano

Most students were also able to choose their roommates, according to a Northeastern University statement. Many students cited this perk as the biggest positive about staying at the Midtown Hotel.

“I don’t love it. The one good thing was picking who we lived with,” said Jordan Brofksy, a first-year health sciences major.

However, the hotel lacks several amenities that every other first-year dorm has ready access to.

“We were supposed to get NU Wi-Fi which we still don’t have,” said Cecilia Smith, a first-year combined communication studies and design major. “We just have hotel Wi-Fi. And we were supposed to get a study room and a lounge room but that never happened.” 

Without a study room, some students believe the hotel does not provide the same community that one might experience in a traditional dorm.

“We’re so isolated from campus and we don’t have a common area, so that’s definitely the hardest part,” said Stella Ikpatt, a first-year economics major. “If you’re in the hotel you’re in your room — there’s nowhere else to go.”

Laundry services are also not available at the hotel, and students who want to use their laundry dollars must carry dirty clothes to Hastings Hall or East Village, the closest residential buildings.

“We have access to laundry at Hastings and East Village but no one wants to carry their laundry down t

The rooms of the Midtown hotel lack certain amenities, such as Northeastern Wi-Fi, but have certain extra perks, such as free TVs and a larger space. / Photo by Alex Melagrano

he street, so a lot of us just don’t do laundry,” Ikpatt said.

Laundry machines were promised to students in the original email sent to N.U.in students about Midtown Hotel housing, which was provided to The News. While machines were installed two weeks after the beginning of the semester, they were not functional by press time.

“They installed laundry machines, but they were supposed to do that a few days after we moved in, and it’s almost two and a half weeks after that now,” Rajan said.

Students use hotel-issued room keys to access their rooms and other hotel entrances. A key card is not needed to enter the hotel, however, and security is more relaxed than other residence halls according to several students living at the Midtown.

“There’s not really any security here at all compared to a normal freshman dorm. All of our parents were concerned about that,” said Bridget Maguire, a first-year civil engineering major.

NUPD did not respond to The News’ Tuesday request for comment on security for students living at the Midtown Hotel.

There are two RAs living at the Midtown Hotel with the first-year students, along with several non-N.U.in first-year students. Like other first-year housing, meal plans are required for all students living in the Midtown; the nearest dining hall, however, is the Levine Marketplace in Stetson East, half a mile away.

Staying at the hotel does not isolate students from the rest of Northeastern, Rajan said.

Students gather in a room in the Midtown Hotel. Unlike other first-year housing, the Midtown Hotel does not have any common rooms for students. / Photo by Alex Melagrano

Midtown Hotel Manager Todd Sankey and Northeastern’s Director of Residential Life Brie McCormick both declined to comment on this story and directed queries about the deal between Northeastern and the hotel to the university’s marketing department, which issued a statement.

“Similar to on-campus residence halls, resident assistants live on-site and offer programming for the students,” the statement read in part.

The university does not plan to place students in the Midtown Hotel after the contract with the hotel expires on May 2, said Northeastern Director of Housing Services Francis Bourgeois at a Jan. 22 Resident Student Association town hall.

“As we sit here now, it is a one-semester thing because of the additional influx of students we had this semester,” Bourgeois said. “There are no plans or discussions as we sit here now, at least at my level, for Midtown to be an option in the future.”

Some students, like Maguire and Rajan, would choose not to stay at the hotel again, but many others believe staying at the hotel has been a positive experience.

“At first I had pretty low expectations because I searched this place on Google and it had, like, two stars, but after living here it’s not that bad,” Holt said.

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