The independent student newspaper of Northeastern University

The Huntington News

The independent student newspaper of Northeastern University

The Huntington News

The independent student newspaper of Northeastern University

The Huntington News

GET OUR WEEKLY NEWSLETTER:



Advertisement




Got an idea? A concern? A problem? Let The Huntington News know:

Students living in Sheraton say access to food, campus is difficult

The+south+tower+of+the+Sheraton+hotel+stands+at+39+Dalton+St.+The+Boston+Planning+and+Development+Agency+gave+Northeastern+approval+to+permanently+convert+426+of+the+Sheratons+hotel+rooms+into+student+dorms+Jan.+18.
Juliette Piovoso
The south tower of the Sheraton hotel stands at 39 Dalton St. The Boston Planning and Development Agency gave Northeastern approval to permanently convert 426 of the Sheraton’s hotel rooms into student dorms Jan. 18.

Editor’s Note: The address for the south tower of the Sheraton Hotel was changed from 39 Dalton St. to 60 Belvidere St. in early March. As the address changed while this story was being reported, The News decided to refer to the building as 39 Dalton St. for the sake of clarity. 

Most students applying to college expect the traditional college experience: living on campus, being close to classes and always having friends nearby. However, many students attending Northeastern get the unique experience of living in an off-campus hotel, which some say sometimes brings challenges and frustration. 

Since fall 2021, the south tower of the Sheraton Hotel, located at 39 Dalton St., has functioned as a residence hall for some students returning from N.U.in and second-year students. Northeastern first started housing N.U.in students in hotels due to the university’s housing shortage, The News previously reported.

But now, as Northeastern is set to permanently convert 426 hotel rooms into student residences, current and past 39 Dalton St. residents have raised concerns about the viability of using a hotel as a residence hall, especially given the building’s distance from the university. 

The News spoke with 11 students living in 39 Dalton St., now addressed 60 Belvidere St., on what it’s like living in a rehabilitated hotel. While many supported the many university-added accommodations, nearly all students said the building’s distance from dining halls, campus and friends can make for an inaccessible and isolating living situation. 

39 Dalton St. is a 0.6-mile walk to The Eatery at Stetson East dining hall and 1.1 miles to United Table at International Village, Northeastern’s two main dining halls. Though the hotel houses the Market at 39 Dalton, where students can use meal swipes to purchase up to $14 worth of food, and is close to several restaurants, students say their meal expenses are still too high. 

“Everything here is really close to restaurants and that can lead to a lot of [money spending],” said Ashna Varma, a second-year business administration and psychology combined major. 

While 39 Dalton St. is not one of Northeastern’s meal plan-required housing options, first-year students are required to have a meal plan, and many second year students choose to have one. But some students say accessing dining halls is highly inconvenient.

“It’s harder because when we are in the Sheraton, it’s difficult for us to make the commute. We get lazy. We get tired. The weather’s bad,” said Nihita Kasibhatla, a second-year computer science and business administration combined major.

Students who spoke with The News said walking from 39 Dalton St. to International Village, or IV, can take up to 30 minutes, which some said is a hassle after a long day of classes and low temperatures. 

“I have three classes back to back and sometimes you just want to go home and decompress,” said Katherine Levesque, a second-year criminal justice major who lives at 39 Dalton St. “By the time you’ve done your work, it’s hard to find the time to make it all the way to the dining hall.”

“I have to cook in the bathroom.”

Students living in the former hotel are substantially farther away from dining halls than other first-year students, many of whom live inside or next to Stetson East and IV. 

The lack of a kitchen or kitchenette in the hotel rooms-turned-student-residences — some living at 39 Dalton St. said they rely on Northastern’s MicroFridge — is a major source of stress, some residents said. 

The Market at 39 Dalton’s seating area. Students have expressed concerns over dining halls being inconvenient for residents of 39 Dalton St. due to its distance from campus. (Juliette Piovoso)

Varma spent her first semester in Rome through the university’s N.U.in program and said she shared a three-story apartment with four roommates. 

“I had a kitchen there, which is 100% so much better than what I have right now because my roommates and I literally cook on the floor in our room,” Varma said. 

Caitlin Pritchett, a second-year political science and international affairs combined major, said the inconvenience of having a meal plan and enduring the lengthy journey to either dining hall has posed challenges.

“Since I am currently on co-op, I don’t have the time to walk a mile to campus for food and then go to my job, so my roommate and I bought a few things like a small griddle, a panini maker, a rice cooker to boil water and a blender to make cooking and meal-prepping for the week easier,” she said.

Due to the limited space in the room, Pritchett has also resorted to alternatives. 

“I end up cooking on the floor sometimes,” she said. “Sometimes, I have to cook in the bathroom because there are very few outlets and I also end up washing all my dishes in there too.”

“Nobody wants to trek to the Sheraton.”

In addition to the lack of accessibility to campus and dining halls, students who spoke with The News also expressed that the distance to campus has negatively impacted their social lives. While students can use the loop shuttle, which provides service to both 39 Dalton St. and the Midtown Hotel from Forsyth Circle, many say the commute is still tedious. 

“Nobody wants to trek to the Sheraton and, like, same. I don’t want to trek to campus to see somebody at the last minute,” Varma said. 

Northeastern initially provided students with CharlieCards when 39 Dalton first became available but stopped doing so because they were underutilized by students, who found it “ more convenient to walk or take advantage of the university’s Red Eye shuttle service,” a university spokesperson told The News.

Residents said the building’s distance from campus can be isolating.

“I don’t think [The Sheraton] is a very social environment. It’s pretty hard to meet people and it’s still very empty in the Sheraton,” Kasibhatla said.

At times, Varma said, returning back to 39 Dalton St. made her feel unsafe. 

“I definitely have to wake up earlier, and I sleep a lot later than people who live closer to campus. I came home at 10:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. by myself last night and I was so paranoid the entire way back,” Varma said. 

A Northeastern spokesperson did not directly respond to questions from The News about students’ concerns regarding the residence hall’s distance from campus. 

In response to the questions, the spokesperson said 39 Dalton St. is one of the largest residence halls with newly furnished amenities including a fitness room, common room and study room. 

The spokesperson also emphasized the university’s various programs and organizations accessible to students living at 39 Dalton St., but did not respond to follow-up questions regarding safety concerns. 

“As is the case for all university housing, the [residence hall] staff creates programming for students residing there. The staff is able to help students connect and can assist students who are looking for ways to get involved,” the spokesperson said in the email statement Feb. 17. “Additionally, students are encouraged to engage socially through opportunities provided by the Center for Student Involvement such as leadership programs, student organizations and fraternity and sorority life.”

“The laundry machines would be down for two weeks.”

While living at 39 Dalton St., residents say they have also faced difficulties using the laundry room, ranging from dysfunctional appliances to an array of out-of-order machine notices.

“I live close by, so I ended up just opting to do my laundry at home because of how bad the laundry situation is here,” said Jackymora Isa, a second-year electrical and computer engineering combined major who lives at 39 Dalton St. and originally from just outside of Boston.

Some students, including Kendall Lucchesi, a second-year political science and criminal justice combined major who lives at 39 Dalton St., reported frequent malfunctions with the machines in the residence hall.

The laundry room at 39 Dalton St. Students living in the building paid $2.50 for each wash or dry cycle. (Juliette Piovoso)

“The laundry machines would be down for two weeks and then suddenly, they would be up for two hours one day, and then they would stop working again a few hours later,” Lucchesi said. “It became really hard because we have nowhere else to go to do laundry. We were stuck.”

The cost of laundry at 39 Dalton St. is almost double the cost at other residence halls on campus. Each cycle at 39 Dalton St. costs $2.50, which residents must pay out of pocket, compared to $1.50 at Stetson East or IV, where residents pay using Laundry Bucks loaded onto their Husky cards. 

The university spokesperson did not answer The News’ question about whether students living in 39 Dalton St. get money in their Husky cards for laundry like students living in other residence halls do.

“When it comes to the space we have, it is definitely an upgrade.” 

Even though most students who spoke to The News said 39 Dalton St. was not their first choice for housing, they say living in a hotel has had some unexpected benefits. 

“I kind of love living here in the fall. I felt like the walk was really nice, so it wasn’t the worst,” Varma said. 

Likewise, Shriya Chelluboina, a second-year international business major, said the new residence hall offers many advantages. 

“Even though there is no kitchen and not really a dining hall, when it comes to the space we have, it is definitely an upgrade,” Chelluboina said. 

Northeastern spokespeople, in several emails to The News, reiterated the many amenities the university has added to the building.

“We’ve also increased study and lounge spaces throughout campus and many students living at 39 Dalton take advantage of those in between classes,” a spokesperson said in an email statement to The News. 

“I also like the fact that [Northeastern] took the initiative to add some common areas,” Chelluboina said. “We have a gym, study rooms and a package room. It definitely compensates for the fact that we’re not so close to campus.”

Some students who spoke with The News said these additions make living in the 39 Dalton worth it — Levesque said she and her roommates chose to live in the building for the upcoming year — but others wish they could live closer to Northeastern’s campus.

“If I had a choice, I would definitely live on campus somewhere closer to wherever someone else would be living,” Kasibhatla said. 

About the Contributor
Juliette Piovoso, Deputy Campus Editor
More to Discover