My son lives in Helser and loves it. He was a little skeptical at first because it does appear to be the biggest dump on campus. Probably most likely to survive a natural disaster too. When the wrecking ball hit the part they knocked down for the UDCC, it took a while to even faze the building. He's in Engineering and loves the convenience and other students on his floor in the same classes. The lack of air is not much of an issue except for the first couple of weeks.
He has friends in Martin and Eaton but when asked to room with them next year, he wanted no part of it. It costs a lot more and he thinks it is less social. He also didn't want to clean his own bathroom, lol. I guess if you are social to start with and don't need a push, Martin and Eaton are probably fine.
Loves the new State Gym too, and all of Union Drive is close to that.
I just looked up the cost and it's kind of ridiculous. Minimum of $5675 for a dorm for what, 9 months out of the year? $630/month and you don't even get a kitchen. As far as I remember, $630 was one of the most expensive places in Ames for APARTMENTS.
There is the social aspect, but some apartments can be social as well for sure. Not to mention, my first apartment was on North Hyland, which was a 2 minute walk to State Gym and cost me about $320/month with 2 other roommates and a full kitchen, 2 bathrooms, etc and for a place from the 80s so it was still pretty nice. Friley is a minimum of $4000 it looks like and $320/month is $2800. Add in some utilities (maybe $10 or $20/month) and cable/internet (maybe $30/month for each roommate extra) and an apartment right off campus is a much better deal after you make a ton of friends in college.
Join a fraternity. Way more readily accessable ways to get involved with school and the community. You will be in close association with both upperclassmen and underclassmen you know learn the school fast.
The close involvement with the sorority ladies is never a bad thing either.
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