Students living at the Stockton Seaview Hotel said the benefits far outweigh the one big drawback: being seven miles from the main campus.
A few students transferred back to campus dorms when rooms became available.
“I was hesitant because it is 15 minutes away,” said Monica Chin, 19, a freshman from Marlboro, Monmouth County. “But my dad said let’s go see it, and that sold it to me.”
So far, the students have co-existed fairly easily with the hotel. An incident during homecoming weekend this year involving two students and a fire extinguisher resulted in fire alarms being activated.
This year, 135 students are living in a wing that requires a swipe key to enter, and has its own rear entrance and parking. Some students work at the resort and requested to live there, and others were assigned to it when other campus housing became full. The cost is about $10,700 per academic year, about the same rate as a room in one of the new apartments on campus.
“I was placed here, but when I came to see it, I loved it,” said senior Emily Mohr, of Marlton, Burlington County.
Two students share a room, which is a typical Seaview hotel room: two double beds, dressers and desks and a flat-screen TV. Stockton has also provided a small mini-fridge and microwave.
The double beds are very popular, especially when compared with the typical twin beds in the dorms.
“The beds are so comfy,” said senior Robert Shipley, of Manalapan, Monmouth County. “And the food is good.”
Katie Baker, 21, a senior from Frenchtown, Hunterdon County, said Seaview feels like living in an apartment complex.
“You have a pool, hot tub, a game room,” she said. “I know some people wanted to be here just for the pool. If you lose your key, there is someone here to help, and the food is awesome.”
Students on the meal plan can eat on campus but also have a special menu they can order from the Seaview kitchen. The menu is available online, and students say they can order dinner from their smartphones before they leave campus, then pick it up when they get to Seaview.
Popular items are the cheeseburger, clam chowder and chicken sandwich.
Since the rooms revert to hotel rooms in the summer, students cannot put anything on the walls that would leave holes. That doesn’t seem to bother them much, and a few have hung message boards or name tags on their doors.
The wing even has its own mascot, a life-size Labrador statue named Shadow, which is officially Drew Ankney’s dog but is routinely moved around the hallways by other students. Ankney, 20, of Wildwood, said friends and family find it somewhat amusing that he is living in a luxury resort, but he loves the hot tub and access to pool tables in the rec room.
Lindsey James, 28, of Philadelphia, the resident complex director, said she has worked at other colleges, and the main difference at Seaview is that she has to coordinate with hotel staff rather than campus personnel to use public areas or for maintenance.
Stockton provides a shuttle to and from campus every hour, and the six students interviewed said they typically take the shuttle for convenience because parking is so tight on campus.
“I have a car, but I take the shuttle,” said freshman Shane Delorme, of Manalapan.
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