The Towers at University Town Center in Hyayttsville, Md. offers affordable housing to college students living in the DMV area.
Graduate and undergraduate students from schools like Howard University, University of Maryland, Trinity University, Catholic University, George Washington University, and American University move to UTC, opting out of their mundane dorm rooms, shared lavatories, and occasional floor meetings that college campuses offer.
But what is it about UTC that has students hopping on the bandwagon?
“It’s the best place for utilities,” said Leeder Nelson, a resident and Howard University student.
Each two, three, or four-bedroom apartment is equipped with a fully functioning kitchen, a washer, dryer, central air, central heat, and Wi-Fi access.
Residents do not have to worry about coming in late at night because the lobby is secured by courtesy officers.
UTC’s fitness room has up-to-date equipment that measures weight, heart rate, and calories lost. Remote controls are also attached to the machines for viewing pleasure. And for leisure, the UTC game room is decked out with a pool, ping pong tables, sitting areas, and plasma televisions. There is also a rooftop swimming pool and a tanning room.
American University student, Lauren Cordes, describes UTC as a community within a community.
“UTC is like its on little village. Everything you need is within distance. Entertainment, food, shopping,” Cordes said. “I love the fact that I don‘t need to travel for much…well besides school.”
Outside of UTC, residents have a variety of dining options. Wild Onion is a good alternative for health-conscious eaters. Qdoba Mexican Grill, a competitor of Chipotle, offers weekly deals for students who present their school IDs, and “Carolina Kitchen” is popular among students looking for a taste of Southern home-cooking.
If those dining options do not satisfy the palate, Prince George’s Plaza, directly across the highway, offers a food court along with department stores, including Macy’s and Target.
Students insist that there are plenty of benefits that come along with living in the student apartments.
“UTC allows us to get away from campus life,” said Richard Williams, a Howard University student majoring in physical education. “I feel at home here.”
“The primary benefit is accessibility to and from DC. We live close enough to DC without paying DC prices,” says Delroy Scott, community assistant at UTC and University of Maryland graduate student.
Living in close proximity with students from other campuses is a great social opportunity, Scott says.
“Students get a chance to expand from their own campuses and meet new people. Networking is everything.”
Prospective residents are asked to fill out forms that best describe their personalities. UTC pairs residents based on their similarities, in hopes that suite mates will be compatible.
Even though George Washington University student, Jaslene Rivera, loves where she resides, she does not completely sing its praises. “Having guests sign in and hand over their IDs, each time they come in is a bit of a hassle,” she said. “I know it’s for security reasons, but having to do it each time my guest and I leave the building is a bit much.”