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Singular Achievements in Residence Hall Living

First-year Students Show Style, Creativity in Their One-Person Rooms

By Lauren Brown

Dorm room with gray and pink color scheme

Photos courtesy of students and their families

Freshman Jeanette Askew’s now-single room in Hagerstown Hall is just one example of how Terps are getting creative with the extra furniture and décor in the residence halls.

There may be a bright side to students spending more time alone in their residence hall rooms this fall: the strings of twinkly fairy lights draped above their makeshift sofas. 

Nearly all of the 3,500 students living in residence halls at the University of Maryland this fall have singles as part of the university’s efforts to “de-densify” the campus during the coronavirus pandemic. 

It’s an unprecedented opportunity for first-year Terps to personalize their space, as they consider how to make the best use of two—or in the case of triples and quads, three or four—of everything: beds, dressers, desks and chairs.

They’re turning the extra bed into a pillow-covered couch, putting the bonus bureau in one of the closets and flipping the desk hutch on its side to use as a table, or reinventing it as a coffee station.

Then consider the double décor. Dorm decorating was already a booming business—the National Retail Federation predicted families would spend an average of $1,059 on back-to-college shopping this year, up from $976 in 2019. Now each Maryland student can haul in twice as much bedding, wall banners and tapestries, seating and storage. 

“We had a lot of communication with parents who wanted their students to have a positive experience and have rooms they would be comfortable in,” said Valronica Scales, director of resident life. “We knew this would be an unprecedented year.”

Take a look at how students upped the creative factor for Fall 2020: 

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Jordan Osterwell | Centreville Hall

Maryland Today is produced by the Office of Strategic Communications for the University of Maryland community weekdays during the academic year, except for university holidays.