RHA discusses updates on new dorm construction, dining hall hours

Fences have been put up as construction for two new dorms and a dining hall begins on North Campus. (Gabby Baniqued/The Diamondback)

On Tuesday night, the University of Maryland Residence Hall Association held its Fall Town Hall, where the directors of several campus departments gave updates on new dorms and how dining services will operate over Thanksgiving break.

Andrea Crabb, residential facilities director, gave the group a look at the dorms that are currently under construction on North Campus. The two new buildings, Rockville and Westminster Halls, are set to open on North Campus near Ellicott Hall in fall 2021.

Crabb said these buildings will be the first dorms to have music rooms in addition to the typical lounges. Student rooms will have a new furniture line, including seven-foot-long beds.

“You’re seeing a lot of modern colors,” she said. “It’s certainly something to look forward to.”

As Thanksgiving break approaches, Dining Services Director Colleen Wright-Riva gave insight to how students can use their meal plans over the break.

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The North Campus Dining Hall will be open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day for students to pick up a hot meal, Wright-Riva said. The Commons Shop will also be open with limited hours for students to purchase food with Dining Dollars or meal swipes.

“Each [dining hall] meal is worth about $7,” Wright-Riva said. “We’re going to let students who have a dining plan come in and choose what they want in [the Commons Shop] for every meal experience.”

Since resident meal plans currently include three meals a day, students on a dining plan will receive $21 per day for use in the Commons Shop during Thanksgiving break. The system is in the process of being modified to allow this change.

While this practice is new for this university amid the coronavirus pandemic, it is commonly used by other universities, Wright-Riva said.

“Lots of other schools call that a meal equivalency, so it’s like we’re giving you an equivalent value to buy what you want in the store,” Wright-Riva continued.

Valronica Scales, resident life director, provided a breakdown of students’ plans over the break. 

As of Tuesday night, 1,975 residents plan to leave campus and stay home until the spring semester, 1,277 residents plan to stay on campus for the remainder of the semester, and 274 residents have yet to fill out the Thanksgiving intent form, according to Scales.

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