A Home Away

Students move belongings into UTSA’s brand new residence hall in the late summer of 1986.

A Home Away

UTSA moves away from “commuter university” status with its first dorm

[ This article was originally published in Sombrilla Magazine, Fall 2000 ]

A drawstring laundry bag. A mini ironing board. Poster putty. And—hidden so that the RA won’t find it—a hot plate for heating canned ravioli and boiling water for hot chocolate.

Such supplies are as standard as notebooks and backpacks for most college students. But before Chisholm Hall was built, UTSA students hadn’t had the chance to experience campus living and its necessary accoutrements. That changed when, in August 1986, the coed residence hall opened and a handful of students lost their commuter status.

Offering amenities such as private bathrooms, an indoor swimming pool, and eliminating the need for those contraband hot plates, a full kitchen, Chisholm offered its residents an experience a little bit nicer than that of a typical dorm.

But beyond just providing students a place to sleep, Chisholm Hall and the newer University Oaks Apartments have given students who choose to live on campus a broader college experience with regular social events, including dances, mixers, and movies. And don’t forget the impromptu volleyball games.

Fourteen years later Chisholm continues to change with the times to meet its residents’ needs. Ethernet connections were put in every room last spring [2000], and the building has gone alcohol-free. And for the 2000-2001 school year the second floor is reserved for residents in the Chisholm Living and Learning Center, a project in conjunction with the Tomás Rivera Center for Student Success to help freshmen succeed in school by placing them in learning communities.


There are five residence halls on Main Campus now (Alvarez, Chaparral, Chisholm, Laurel, and University Oaks), and additional ones are in the planning stages for both the Main and Downtown campuses.