With the snip of a ceremonial ribbon and a blast of blue-and-gold confetti, Northeastern Illinois University opened The Nest, the first residence hall in the institution’s history, on Aug. 19, 2016. Immediately after the ceremony, students and their families began the exciting process of move-in day.
“Under the leadership of President Sharon Hahs, we are finally able to answer the call of all those prospective students who have long wanted a student housing option at Northeastern,” Northeastern Board of Trustees Chair Carlos Azcoitia said. “We are now better positioned to win the attention of all those who have eliminated us from consideration simply because we didn’t provide housing.
“But it wasn’t just prospective students who we had in mind. This residence hall will provide another opportunity for us to foster a greater sense of community for our continuing students as well. And as many of us know, community is one of Northeastern’s most cherished university values.”
The process of bringing a residence hall to Northeastern began when residence life was added to the University’s strategic plan in 2008. What followed was eight years of committed planning and preparation by students, faculty, staff and alumni. The groundbreaking ceremony took place on May 14, 2015.
“Throughout my decade as president of Northeastern, I have witnessed the University undergo many transformations,” President Sharon Hahs said. “One of the most significant transformations is currently underway, and it is the result of the efforts of many who helped to erect this beautiful structure standing right before us.”
The six-story residence hall has a capacity of 440 beds (432 students and eight live-in staff). It holds 110 units (90 four-bedroom, two-bath; 20 two-bedroom with two beds per room, two-bath).
“Students are excited to see how this campus will transform into a residential community where more students have the opportunity to invest in their future through education,” Student Government Association President Nicholas Martinez said. “Being the most diverse university in the Midwest, Northeastern has answered the call and is providing everyone with an environment where they can learn, belong, achieve, transform and lead.”
The facility will put students in a better position to concentrate on academics, improving student retention and graduation rates, Provost Richard J. Helldobler said.
“Our Nest residents will live steps away from the library, the Learning Support Center, and the many, many academic services and resources available to them,” Helldobler said. “They will be more easily able to—and more likely to—drop in to visit faculty during office hours and to seek help in achieving their academic goals. They won’t arrive to class having experienced long and tiring commutes. Instead, they’ll be able to use the time saved to take part in study groups and build lifelong friendships.”
The residence hall also opens up opportunities for more co-curricular activities.
“We are excited for our new residents of The Nest, because we know that this residential life component will become an important and transformative part of their experiences at Northeastern,” Vice President for Student Affairs Daniel López said.
The residence hall project is a three-way partnership among the University and two other organizations. American Campus Communities (ACC) has been responsible for planning the residence hall and overseeing its construction, and will be responsible for management and ongoing operations. ACC is the largest developer and manager of student residence halls in the nation. The Collegiate Housing Foundation (CHF) is responsible for the financing of the residence hall and is a nonprofit foundation created to provide financial support to university housing projects.
Top photo: President Sharon Hahs helps freshman Luz Colin move into The Nest.