Life in Sheraton Hotel is a ‘unique’ experience

After the demolition of the Chittenden Buckham Wills complex, students said they’re excited about the opportunity to live at the Sheraton Hotel and Quarry Hill apartments.

The University was limited in their options for off-campus housing due to an agreement with the city.

“UVM has an agreement with Burlington that says we have to provide beds to [a] certain number of students,” said UVM ResLife Coordinator Joe Russell.dorm_lowquality

“When we began a conversation around demolition of CBW, we knew that to get approval for building new residence halls, the first step would be to replace number of beds within the residential system,” Russell said.

Russell said UVM replaced the missing beds by starting with Quarry Hill and then approaching the Sheraton for rooms.

Though a unique living experience, many students have found the situation ideal for their needs.

Junior Isabella Sances is living at the Sheraton.

“Everyone living at the Sheraton is an upperclassman, the majority being juniors,” junior  Isabella Sances said.

With plans to study abroad this spring, Sances said she found the idea of finding a subletter for the fall incredibly risky, and as an in-state student, living on campus at the Sheraton was a great deal.

“If Living and Learning were an option for upperclassmen this fall, I would have probably continued to live there like my previous two years,” Sances said. “However, I am meeting new people and enjoying the pool. I’m so glad I picked this option.”

Most students living at the Sheraton plan to study abroad or have no desire to live off campus, Sances said.

She also said the Sheraton is a good option for students who want to be close to campus or are not ready to live off campus.

Students living in the Sheraton get a variety of benefits: they have access to the hotel’s indoor pool, gym, free parking and shuttle service to campus shared with Quarry Hill students, according to ResLife’s website.

“The students are given more freedom, but more responsibility,” Kennedy said.

They also have on-site laundry, mail delivery, free cable TV, air conditioning and a 50 percent discount on food and beverages at Sheraton restaurants.

Senior Ben Kennedy, a Sheraton Residential Advisor said, two Residential Advisors and a site manager rotate shifts on a weekly basis, meaning that they are on duty every third week for an entire week at a time.

“When you consider that there are only two RAs and a site manager in a completely new complex with 120 students, it’s easy to see how we could feel overwhelmed,” Kennedy said.

“Even when you’re not on call, you’re basically on call,” he said.

Even though students are living in a functioning hotel, the older students living here are being treated in as though they are living in off-campus housing.

“The students are given more freedom, but more responsibility,” Kennedy said.

Being caught smoking marijuana is a violation of the Sheraton smoking policy, and the offender would have 48 hours to vacate their room and turn in their key, Kennedy said. This differs from a traditional dorm where you would be written up, have to go through a conduct process and pay a fine.

“The RAs were very clear in saying that any punishments and repercussions will result in moving out immediately or dealing with the Burlington police, as opposed to the UVM campus police,” Sances said.

The Sheraton is not a dry residence hall, Kennedy said.

corrals“All residents of legal age are able to possess and consume alcohol in their rooms,” he said.

Residents will not be kicked out for noise but will be asked to be quiet, said Kennedy.

“We have hit some bumps along the way with things that we have no control over, including unrelenting issues with the Wi-Fi,” Kennedy said.

Kennedy said he enjoys working with ResLife.

“I love being a part of the ResLife team and community over here at the Sheraton, and I’m really looking forward to the rest of the year,” Kennedy said.

The longevity of this project is unknown to ResLife.

“Right now our idea is that this will only be in place until we open new residents halls on Central Campus,” Russell said. “Of course, no way to predict the future, but right now this is the plan.”

Sances said there is a sense of community among those living at the Sheraton.

“My roommate and I have made several friends with people on our floor, and we even made a Facebook group for all UVM Sheraton residents in order to stay connected in what we can do to make this year awesome,” Sances said.

“I love it. I still cannot believe I live in a hotel,” she said. “A lot of my friends here joke around and say that we are experiencing the ‘Suite Life of Zack and Cody.’”