A Low-Cost “Hotel” Option for Summer—Guest Housing at a UA Campus

By Kate Ripley, UA Public Affairs

It was almost like going back to college, only a lot more spacious and private than when I was an undergraduate.

For the June Board of Regents’ meeting at the University of Alaska Anchorage, I was given the opportunity, along with regents and other staff attending the meeting, to stay in UAA housing. I jumped at the chance, because it would not only save the university money, but also give me, as public affairs director, a window into the world of what our on-campus students experience at UAA.  

I stayed in a unit very close to the Lee Gorsuch Commons, where the board meeting was held. The location was convenient, my room was clean and the staff members at UAA were incredibly friendly, welcoming and happy to have me stay with them.

In the MAC Housing complex, the unit I stayed in had four separate private bedrooms, with a shared bath, kitchen and living area. The windows looked out over beautiful green trees and Campbell Creek, running through campus. Through the trees were some kids playing basketball, always a comforting sound. Waiting for me on my bed was a nice little welcome basket with baked goodies, a couple bottles of water, a stainless steel Kaladi Brothers mug and pound of coffee.

I was a resident assistant for four years at the University of Montana in Missoula, where I earned my undergraduate degree. The dormitories back then were basically little rooms with a desk, closet and bed on a floor of some 40-50 other rooms, often with two roommates per room. The bathrooms were shared, with about eight to 10 stalls and an equal number of showers. I thought it was great, personally, but I also like the suite style of housing that’s become so popular these days.  

My suitemate at UAA, it turned out, was one of my bosses—Regent Courtney Enright! While I’m sure she is perfectly used to dorm living, it’s been awhile for me, I must admit. What surprised me most is how much like little apartment units the MAC housing units are. Such an arrangement provides privacy, but also space to hang out, cook a meal together and have some space. There was even an arctic entry way with a big closet and room off to the side for storing large items such as bicycles and camping gear.

The kitchen was perfectly acceptable in every way, and was better than the kitchen in my first apartment I rented after graduating from college, oh so many years ago. The bathroom was clean and there was plenty of hot water for the shower.

UAA provided bedding, towels and even a little soap and shampoo. I’ll admit it wasn’t the Hotel Captain Cook, but it also only cost $50 a night! You can’t beat that for clean, comfortable and convenient.

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