Georgina Scoville/The Bates Student
Students in the summer housing lottery, primarily juniors whose study abroad plans were cancelled due to Covid-19, waited all summer to find out where they would be living this semester. On Aug. 13, these students received an email titled “Summer Placement Assignment,” and to their surprise, about 90 students learned that their housing assignment was the Hampton Inn in Lewiston. Many were also randomly assigned roommates, though they were given the option to switch in the following days.
After this announcement, students felt a mixture of confusion, frustration, and concern, particularly regarding the logistics of getting to and from the Bates campus. “When I saw Hampton Inn for my housing assignment, I was initially very shocked – how could I have a genuine college experience commuting from a hotel?” shared Tamsin Stringer ’22.
A few days later, Residence Life hosted a Zoom forum to help address and answer these questions. They explained that there would be a shuttle operating Monday through Friday to bring students back and forth to campus in addition to the Bobcat Express, which is available if students call Campus Safety.
Having to rely on a shuttle was one of the major reasons why Jesse Hagy ’22 decided to leave the hotel and move to campus. He shared that since he does not have a car on campus, he had nowhere to go between classes, apart from academic buildings. According to Hagy, “this is partly because the shuttle schedule would vary day to day and [he] couldn’t risk going back to the hotel, missing the shuttle, and missing class.”
Despite the distance from campus, there are some obvious advantages to living at the Hampton Inn. The hotel boasts large beds, private bathrooms, and amenities including a gym and pool. Two floors of the hotel are reserved solely for Bates students, and each student occupies either a queen bed double or king bed single. Each bedroom also comes equipped with a mini-fridge, microwave, television with cable, and air conditioning.
Aside from the rooms, Bates students living at the Hampton Inn are offered a large set of other accommodations. Each morning, there is a continental breakfast until 10 a.m., which includes offerings such as pre-made omelettes and fruit. Students are also able to sign up in advance for a gym or pool slot for 45 minutes or 1 hour at a time. In terms of laundry, Bates provides Hampton Inn students with a laundry service: if they drop off their laundry bag on Sunday night, it will be returned on Thursday morning, cleaned and folded.
Even with these positive aspects, many Bates students were left dissatisfied with their living situation. This week, the hotel hallways were filled with students moving out, as they recently obtained rooms on campus through the Room Change Process. As rooms open up, “students in the Hampton Inn will have precedence over fellow students in traditional student housing in the same class year,” according to the Bates website. Every student that entered the Room Change Process with the intention of moving to campus from the Hampton Inn was able to do so, shared Jessie Williams in Residence Life.
“I really just wanted to be back on campus and in walkable distance to Bates buildings. It felt a little isolating for me, especially during COVID, and the room change process was so easy. [My roommate and I] actually got a room three days after we filled out the form and were given three different room choices, two of which were in our top pick dorm building,” shared Izzy Mohammadi-Hall ‘22, who moved out of the hotel this past week.
For the students that remain at the hotel, although the experience may be strange, it is also historic and memorable. They will never forget the semester they spent living in the Hampton Inn.