Several NYU Shanghai students have expressed concern with the residential housing at the portal campus, specifically for the newly built Jinqiao Residence Hall, citing transportation issues and lack of free space.
All students at the Shanghai campus are required to reside in NYU housing, and students are required to room with a Chinese student during their freshman year. The university had previously housed its students at Motel 268 in single and double rooms, but recently transitioned to the Jinqiao Residence Hall, which more closely resembles the suite-style dorms of the New York residence halls.
The residence hall consists of three buildings — one for freshmen and two for upperclassmen and Study Abroad students — all housed in the same lot. Every floor has a common area, and bathrooms are each shared by four people.
NYU Shanghai sophomore Nofar Hamrany said she was not satisfied with the change, stating that the Jinqiao dorms do not live up to her expectations.
“We were told that the new housing would be in an apartment style, but only at the end of last semester they told us it would be different,” Hamrany said. “Many freshmen are upset that their housing is worse than the upper classes ones, and many sophomores and juniors are still upset with the fact that it is not what we were promised and that it is worse than what we had last year.”
Isabella Farr, an NYU Shanghai sophomore, disagreed, saying the sophomore dorms did meet her expectations, and that the administration works to respond to student complaints despite the limitations.
“We always want something more than what we can ever have, and I think that NYU Shanghai housing is no exception,” Farr said. “In China, it’s hard to get a big, suite-style room that is affordable and in the perfect location. For some students, they were expecting more common space, larger rooms and no communal bathrooms.”
Alexander Kario, who writes for NYU Shanghai’s paper On Century Avenue, also recently voiced his displeasure with the housing situation with a piece in September.
At the beginning of the semester, when the new dorms were first debuted to a full class, some students were concerned with the length of the commute to class and lack of authentic Chinese culture surrounding the dorms.
The residence hall is located near the Jinqiao international commercial plaza, and the university provides a free, 20-minute shuttle ride between the Academic Building — NYU Shanghai’s primary campus — in the Lujiazui financial district, and the residence hall in Pudong.
A statement from the NYU Shanghai student government addressed complaints about the commute from the residence hall to class.
“In order to make the shuttles more convenient, our IT department is currently working on implementing wi-fi access to the NYU network on our shuttle busses,” the statement read.
Hamrany said the shared bathrooms and lack of common areas and study space are also issues, as students cannot study at the dorms. As a result, they are restricted to studying almost solely in the Academic Building. The NYU Shanghai student government has been working with administration to create more common space in response to student demands.
Eli Berk-Rauch, manager of Residential Life at NYU Shanghai, said the affordability of the dorms is a key difference between NYU Shanghai housing and housing at other NYU sites.
“The cost of our standard double is less that half the cost of the cheapest room in the New York system, Rubin Hall, which does not provide air conditioning or a kitchen — which we do,” Berk-Rauch said. “Our Standard Double is less than a third the cost of a hall that does offer a kitchen/comparable amenities.”
The university expects the Jinqiao dorms to remain part of the program’s residence hall for the next five to 10 years, but eventually hopes to find housing closer to campus. The student government, meanwhile, maintains that progress is being made, slowly but surely.
“As of right now, there are no plans that are ready to be announced publicly, but there is definitely progress being made,” the student government’s statement read. “It is important to remember that we are still a very new school and every day, week, semester and year we are growing and changing in order to create the best possible environment for students.”
Email Greta Chevance at [email protected]