By: Kelci McKendrick

Leaving her dorm room door open was something Torie Rogers always did so she could talk to girls on her floor passing by. At Cross Villages, the doors shut automatically and are too heavy to prop open, leaving the hallways utterly silent.

“I normally had my door open,” said Rogers, an engineering sophomore and Cross resident. “I was friends with a lot of girls in the hall, so they would stick their heads in and be like, ‘What’s up?’ I enjoyed that because I love talking to people, so I enjoyed people popping in.”

Despite this, Rogers and others in Cross appreciate the different atmosphere Cross provides as opposed to the dorms. Leaving behind the freshmen days of chatter, Cross provides a space where residents can be at peace.

“Being an upperclassmen, I don’t feel an obligation to have my door open,” said Lili Escandon, a biology pre-med sophomore and Cross resident. “I used to have my door open to meet people, but now I just don’t care.”

Wilds nights of partying are out, serious, quiet nights are in. Jared Gramza, a meteorology sophomore and Cross resident, said Cross feels like an apartment.

“People are getting work done,” Gramza said. “I think it’s just because we’re not freshmen anymore — we understand that we actually have to work in college. It just feels … It’s a lot better than the dorms.”

It wasn’t always peacefully quiet in the opening days of Cross. Residents were allowed to move in three days earlier than scheduled on Aug. 15, according to Rogers. However, construction was still ongoing in all four of the unfinished buildings.

“It was just annoying waking up early in the morning and hearing construction from the time  you wake up till you’re done with class,” Gramza said.

In addition to construction sounds, many residents were left with many other unfinished problems. Dining options promised to residents were not available for a month after opening, leaving many residents to rely on other food sources.

Gramza said he and others were annoyed they were paying for something that wasn’t even done yet, sparking a few residents to create a petition to get a percentage of their money back.

Residents did this to try to resolve their issues in a formal way. Residents also spoke on the issues with the building and with the management at an undergraduate student congress meeting Sept. 11, according to an OU Daily article.

The communal kitchen on each floor had issues with the stove not working at first. It works now, but waiting in lines to cook aren’t ideal for floor residents, said Rogers.

Laundry is also done in the same space as the communal kitchen, leaving a different mix of food and detergent in the air.

“Some girls on my floor cook twice a week,” said Escandon. “If they’re cooking and I’m doing laundry, then my clothes smell like their food.”

Escandon also talked of the frail stability in her room in Cross, which she said was a lot weaker than the dorms.

“The difference between the dorms and Cross is Cross is so fragile,” Escandon said. “Like, if you put a small piece of tape on the wall and take it off, a big blob of paint will come off. I somehow dented the floor in my bedroom … The chairs scratch the floor really bad.”

Hinges on cabinet doors in Escandon’s room have came off, leaving stray screws on the floor and having to carefully open cabinet doors. Rogers also stated that she didn’t have hot water in her room for a month.

Even though Cross is quiet enough to hear echoes, Escandon has said sometimes she can hear her neighbors through the walls. The walls in the dorms are better, she said.

Escandon and Rogers both expressed frustrations in the excessive scanning necessary to get to their rooms. In order to use the elevator, access floors and enter front doors, one has to scan their OU ID card.

 

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Three months after the opening, following mid-semester management changes, things are looking up at Cross. Although a very different environment from the dorms, Cross is appreciated for its silence and ability to now meet students’ needs.

A typical Friday night in Cross is quiet, said Kaitlyn McIntosh, a social work sophomore and Cross resident.

“If people want to out, they’ll go out, but if they don’t … It’s not always wild crazy,” McIntosh said. “Every once in awhile, you’ll hear a stray scream, but I think it’s just one guy every time.”

McIntosh enjoys having a full fridge and a microwave she didn’t pay for. She said living in Cross makes her feel more independent, and she’s happy to not be in the dorms anymore.

Cross is still lacking the landscaping OU has kept up over the years. Dreams of green grass are nearing, but at the moment, dirt is the view in Cross.

“It’s just not pretty to look out your window and see a field of mud,” McIntosh said.

Despite the final obstacles in Cross, residents are becoming more positive about it. Escandon, Gramza and Rogers feel it is only getting better from here and would recommend living there to others.

Cross has its own parking garage, which residents are thankful for after having to deal with parking issues before. Being on campus also benefits people without vehicles, said Escandon.

“I like the close proximity to campus,” Escandon said. “I like accommodation because I don’t have a car, so this is really important for me.”

 

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As of August 2018, Cross had a 28 percent occupancy rate. In the past, OU opened its Residential Colleges, Dunham and Headington, to freshmen to fill in rooms. If Cross does this, residents feel as though Cross will lose its quietness and will feel more like the dorms again.

“It could get a lot louder just because freshmen are freshmen,” Gramza said. “I just think this is better for people who are at least a year into schooling.”

Escandon also said she fears freshmen might miss out on getting the opportunity to meet new people in the dorms like she did. Being from Texas, Escandon didn’t know anyone, and the dorms offered a place for her to have the ability to meet people she is now friends with.

Cross is much different from the dorms, and despite the initial problems, residents are overall content with not being in the dorms anymore.

“(Being an upperclassmen), everything calms down because you don’t feel like you’re missing out on anything,” Escandon said. “It’s like … ‘out of sight, out of mind.’”

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