As On Century Avenue continues conversations with the Student Life Department, we will be continuing to provide the NYU Shanghai community with updates regarding next semester’s Jinqiao dormitories.
From Aug. 15, NYU Shanghai students will be starting their new academic year in new dormitories. Located in Jinqiao (金桥) in Pudong, it is anticipated that the recently built dorms will be an improvement compared to students’ current residency, Motel 268. However, the Jinqiao dormitories will be located approximately 10 minutes away by metro, meaning students will have to commute to the Academic Building. Student Life has been working with Student Life and Residence Committee over the past year to grasp an idea of student’s needs and preferences: all of which have been incorporated into the construction and design of the new dormitories.
In terms of the dorms, alterations have been made with regards to living arrangements. Currently, students living in Motel 268 live with one roommate, or in a single room. However, the Jinqiao dorms will attempt to mimic NYU New York’s living arrangements, that is, each person has one roommate, but two other suitemates. Therefore, two rooms will be connected by a communal bathroom and living space – the logistics of this are still in the works.
According to David Pe, the Jinqiao buildings are based off the idea of community building. “We are trying to create as much shared space as possible, so people will have more chances to interact, compared to Motel 268”. Each floor will also have a kitchen – Motel 268 students are currently missing out on this aspect of dormitory living. The kitchen will be equipped with hot water kettles, hot-plates, rice cookers and more. To the students convenience, each floor will also have washing machines and dryers, hopefully decreasing the laundry room congestion currently experienced at Motel 268.
The biggest change in terms of living arrangements will be the introduction of two extra buildings. Rather than housing 600 students in one dormitory, NYU Shanghai students will be occupying three buildings on the same lot. Freshman will be in one tower, and upperclassmen (including Study Away students) will be spread out among the other two. The reason for freshman housing is to tighten the freshman class from the outset, as Student Life recognizes that they have specific challenges that the Sophomore class, or Study Away students may not experience. Thus, housing them in one tower will allow for closer class bonding.
However, Professor Clay Shirky acknowledged that while this may be good for the freshman class, it will, in fact, loosen ties between the freshman and the sophomores: an issue that NYU Shanghai students already face. Furthermore, the concept of community could further be disrupted by the direct intertwining of the Study Away students. For the freshman, Professor Shirky did acknowledge that the freshman space would give the first-year students the chance to explore their challenges, without influence from other classes – something that other colleges across the world also attempt to do.
Although you can request a roommate for next semester, suitemates will not be guaranteed. Cross-culturalism is always something that NYU Shanghai will always prioritize and, therefore, choice will not always be possible. Moreover, because Study Away students will be integrated into the upperclassmen towers, portal students could potentially share a suite with Study Away students – if they are open to sharing.
The Jinqiao dormitories are located in a much more lively neighborhood of Pudong and are surrounded by many more restaurants, hang-out space, and shops. Ultimately, this is a huge upgrade from the neighborhood surrounding Motel 268. However, with this comes a potential change in lifestyle – for many students, an increase in personal expenditure is expected, as choice will expand. Although Chinese options will still be available, there will be an increase in international options – for example, there will be a Wagas directly across the road. In addition to this, students will have an abundance of ‘hangout’ areas, rather than simply retreating to Blue Frog on Mondays or the late night congregation outside Family Mart.
In terms of the adjustment, there will be a few lifestyle changes that might shock the returning Class of 2018. Apart from the increasing self-control not to indulge in Wagas or Cantina Agave – a freshman favorite – students will also have to adjust to the morning commute. The Jinqiao dorms are located on the Jinqiao Line; six stops away from the Academic Building, meaning it will take approximately ten minutes away. In Professor Shirky’s opinion, this will inherently change the types of interactions students have with each other and will create a forced separation. In terms of scale and density, NYU Shanghai will begin to spread itself out on Pudong, meaning that student density will decrease. As a result, students are more likely to be separated – social connectivity will ultimately decrease. Specifically, with regards to the commute, the commute is expected to be better than any other Pudong travel time. Additionally, it will still be shorter than the time it takes for any NYU New York student to travel to Washington Square.
David Pe also stated “students should rethink how they operate within the city. Ultimately, they should rethink how they operate within the NYU Shanghai community and how this transcends to the whole urban city of Shanghai. This will be possible as the new dorms are encouraging students to become more directly involved with city life.”
However, there is an expectation that there will be many more students perching themselves for long periods of time at the Academic Building. There will be limited going back and forth between the dorms and campus, even though there will be shuttles running throughout the day. This is also an opportunity for feedback – potentially, Student Life will be coordinating a hop-on-hop-off type service, where the shuttle could stop off at certain points from the Academic Building to Jinqiao. This is something that is still in the works.
At this point, the Jinqiao dorms are intended to be permanent housing for the next five to ten years. In the future, the NYU Shanghai administration intends to find something closer to campus – if real estate permits.
Ultimately, the Jinqiao dormitories will be an upgrade. As Professor Shirky describes, the move will be great for intra-class tightening, although it may loosen up connections between the freshman and the upperclassmen. Additionally, the external hangout space will contribute positively to the NYU Shanghai student’s college experience, even though we may be expected to encounter new lifestyle changes.
Student Life would also like to take this opportunity to point out that many things are still on the drawing board. They encourage students with any suggestions, ideas or inquiries to reach out.
This article was written by Bella Farr. Send an email to email@example.com to get in touch.
Photo Credit: Zhang Zhan