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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Guide to UA dorm life

Tyler Baker
Michaela Kane/ Arizona Daily Wildcat Gabby Frazier (right) and Casey Tompa (left) help load belongings into moving boxes as volunteers for High Team at the University of Arizona in Tucson, Ariz. on Friday, Aug. 23, 2013.

*Editor’s Note: This article appeared in the Daily Wildcat’s 2017 Orientation Guide.

For incoming freshmen, or even those deciding to live in the dorms for another year, the decision to live on-campus can be very exciting—but the idea of entering the world of Residence Life may still be a little intimidating.

The Daily Wildcat is here to help anyone worrying about what dorm life will be like, starting with the pros and cons of some popular dorms at the UA.

Árbol de la Vida

This large honors dorm was built in 2011, and houses over 700 residents within modern architecture that incorporates sustainable energy features. Árbol de la Vida is six stories high with sky bridges connecting each tower.

The dorm offers single and double occupancy rooms, with both community and some gender-neutral bathrooms. It is located on the far southwest edge of campus and is slightly farther away from most academic buildings compared to some other dorms, however is close by to Park Student Union.

Not only is it an honors dorm, but Árbol de la Vida has also established Cambium, which is a STEM scholar community that gives honors students who are majoring in science or engineering a research-enriched environment to live in. The dorm also has a Building Dashboard website that keeps track of the residence hall’s water and electricity use.


Likins was also built in 2011 with the same beautiful architecture and advanced sustainability as Árbol de la Vida, only smaller with a capacity of 369 residents. It has two towers, four and six stories respectively, also connected by sky bridges.

Likins offers double occupancy rooms with both community and some gender-neutral bathrooms. Located in the Highland District, this dorm sits at the corner of Highland Avenue and Sixth Street and is located right next to the Campus Recreation Center and Highland Market.

As an energy-conscious community, Likins has installed collaborative learning tools and also uses the Building Dashboard website to monitor water and electricity use in the building.


Housing almost 800 students, the largest residence hall on campus is Coronado.

This nine-story dorm is located by Park Student Union and University Boulevard. Their double occupancy rooms are suite-style featuring a connecting bathroom that four students can share. The dorm was recently renovated in 2012.


Locate adjacent to Coronado is Arizona-Sonora, nicknamed AZ-SO. This dorm houses around 500 students and boasts the largest rooms of any UA dorm.

AZ-SO is made up of two nine-story towers containing triple and double occupancy rooms as well as community bathrooms.

A popular addition to this dorm is the large, open recreation area which includes a kitchen, eating area, pool table, TVs, couches and a small fitness area.

Villa del Puente

Known as VDP for short, this residence hall is located on Highland Avenue alongside eight other dorms. This three-story hall is close to Highland Market and many academic buildings.

VDP consists of two buildings connected by overhead bridges at the second and third floors, and has both single and double occupancy rooms with community bathrooms.

This hall also features solar panels that the dorm utilizes to run off of sustainable energy. Right next to VDP are Posada San Pedro and Pueblo de la Cienega, two identical dorms built in the same year.

Colonia de la Paz

Colonia de la Paz is another popular dorm located on Highland Avenue, housing around 480 students between three floors.

This dorm is most known for its intricate red-brick architecture, with many courtyards, study bridges, balcony areas, and spots of landscaping throughout.

Colonia de la Paz has single and double occupancy rooms with community bathrooms, and sits close to Arizona Stadium, the Campus Recreation Center, Highland Market and many academic buildings.

Every year, Colonia de la Paz hosts Diva La Paz, which is a drag show that draws in hundreds of students every year and raises awareness about the LGBTQA community.

After choosing the perfect dorm for your needs, here are some tips for making the most out of your first year in the dorms.

1. Avoid the Freshman 15

Everyone is warned of the weight gaining tendencies of freshman year, and everyone thinks it won’t happen to them … but it does.

Make sure to take steps toward keeping your body healthy and happy by using the Campus Recreation Center, which is a gym and recreational facility free for UA students.

RELATED: Explore campus, fitness with UA-FIT

2. If you have a meal plan, use it

Some of the meal plan options at UA are basically fast-food and may get old very quickly, but there are also a few hidden gems in the Student Union that offer great, quality food. Take full advantage of this as opposed to eating elsewhere; it may save you money and provide comparatively far greater nutrition.

3. Go to campus events

Some of them might be cheesy, but participating in events that are advertised on campus is a great way to meet new people. Also, a lot of the time they give you free stuff, so how can you deny yourself?

RELATED: Enjoy campus without breaking bank

4. Don’t bring alcohol or drugs into the dorms

UA strictly enforces their zero-tolerance alcohol/drug policy in the dorms.

If you think you’re sneaky enough to do it, nine times out of 10 you will get caught and be in serious trouble. Remember, you’re in relatively cozy living quarters, so words and smells travel quickly.

5. Get outside of your dorm room

It can be tempting to spend every free second relaxing in your room, but try to spend some time exploring campus and surrounding college town.

The beauty of living in dorms is that you are walking distance from everything, so don’t waste your year cooped up inside. Explore Tucson and discover its heart and culture.

Follow on Kathleen Kunz on Twitter

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