by Angel Barker
Dorm life is an important part of the college experience, but what happens when your university does not have adequate housing for its population? They turn a hotel into a residence hall. The Comfort Inn in Arcata, located in the Valley West area, is now home to almost 100 upperclassmen students.
The housing shortage is nothing new in Arcata. For students like Gabriela Mendez, a transfer student majoring in psychology, finding off-campus housing was unsuccessful.
“I was hoping to find last minute housing off campus,” Mendez said, “but there was nothing.”
Mendez has a roommate in the hotel, as all rooms are double occupancy. Each is supplied with two beds, desks, and dressers.
When asked her opinion about what it is like living in a hotel, Mendez said, “People can say ‘you don’t get the full college experience,’ and like, the college experience might be cool because I am a transfer student, but I am just grateful to have housing.”
Osiel Palomino, a returning sophomore majoring in environmental studies and management, had the same reaction.
“If it wasn’t for that room, I would have held off on going back to school for another semester,” Palomino said.
Palomino lived on campus his freshman year in 2019-2020 right before the COVID-19 pandemic, and moved home and took a break from school until classes were back in person.
Sarah Neumann, a business administration exchange student from Germany, is Mendez’s roommate.
“We made a good situation,” Neumann said. “I like it because I think we have more space and privacy, especially with our own bathroom.”
“One thing that I really love is each room has their own shower and bathroom. You don’t have to share one bathroom with the whole halfway, you avoid those problems,” Palomino said.
In addition to each room having their own bathroom, they also have free amenities like linens, a minifridge, a microwave, TV with cable, housekeeping services, continental breakfast everyday, Wi-Fi, and pool and gym access.
Compared to living in a freshman dorm on campus, Palomino said that living in the hotel still feels relatively the same.
“You still feel the college experience because everyone living there is students,” Palomino said. “You still feel like you’re on campus even though you’re not.”
A large banner welcoming Cal Poly Humboldt students and the friendly front desk staff also help with that feeling.
Staying connected can be difficult, but the RAs and the Office of Housing and Residence Life are hard at work to help the students feel included in campus life.
“The RAs have little events, to make it feel like the real dorm college experience,” Mendez said.
Neumann and Mendez even bought a whiteboard for the outside of their door.
“People can just write anything, so we can still communicate with others when we don’t always see them,” Mendez said.
Overall, students are satisfied with the University and the Comfort Inn solution to the housing shortage.