UI students express mixed emotions on university’s plan to sell Mayflower Residence Hall

Many students expressed feelings of both sadness and excitement about the plan and its potential outcomes.


Emily Nyberg

Mayflower Residence Hall is seen on Tuesday Feb. 14, 2023.

Isabelle Foland, News Reporter

University of Iowa students have expressed mixed emotions about the university’s plan to sell Mayflower Residence Hall and build an additional east-side dorm.

The UI is proposing to sell Mayflower to increase on-campus living retention rates among student’s and build a undergraduate living facility, the UI announced in an Iowa Now article on Feb. 14.

“Primarily because of its distance from main campus, Mayflower is consistently the least-requested residence hall by students and has the most students who leave to move into another hall,” the article states.

Upon hearing the news about Mayflower, UI first-year student Madeline Boevers, who lives in Rienow Residence Hall, said there are better uses of the UI’s time and money than selling Mayflower and building a new east side dorm.

“Why don’t they just put that money toward bettering current dorms and making them more handicap accessible or accommodable instead of just wiping off [Mayflower] and building a whole other one that could lead to more problems?”

First-year Mayflower resident Lillian McVay said she has enjoyed her time living in Mayflower, and she would prefer that the UI updates the residence hall instead of selling it.

Potential locations for the new residence hall include:

• Behind Stanley and Currier Halls
• Next to Alpha Chi Sigma fraternity on North Clinton Street
• The Recreation Center parking lot located on West Court Street
• The Hillcrest Parking Lot at the end of Byington Road

Map by Jami Martin-Trainor/The Daily Iowan

However, McVay said she could see the appeal in adding a new east-side dorm, especially if the university decides to build the dorm in the current Recreation Center parking lot.

“I think the [Recreation Center location] would be really nice,” McVay said. “I know a lot of people would probably enjoy having a rec center nearby.”

Some UI students said hearing the news that Mayflower Residence Hall is planning to be sold felt bittersweet.

First-year student Wyatt Franks said he plans to live in Mayflower Residence Hall again next year. He said his sister, who graduated a few years before the start of this school year, also lived in the same residence hall when she attended the university.

RELATED: UI requests approval to build new dorm, sell Mayflower Residence Hall

“She also lived in Mayflower for the majority of her time here, so I feel like I kind of got a family tradition going on here,” Franks said.

While the thought of being unable to continue this tradition is saddening, Franks said he’s interested to see what the UI does in its plan to build another residence hall.

“It kind of depends on where they're going to put the dorm because everything's already pretty tight,” Franks said. “It kind of just comes down to where they can find space to put one, but I'm sure it'd be better than having Mayflower.”

Ty Knudsen, a first-year UI student living in Mayflower Residence Hall, agreed with this sentiment. However, he added he’s concerned about the current trend of large incoming freshman classes and what the UI’s housing system would look like without Mayflower.

“Right now, we’re not even at full capacity, but we're still holding some of the most students on campus,” Knudsen said. “That's going to be something they're really going to have to make up for, especially seeing that next year's class is bigger than the freshman class this year.”

According to the Iowa Now article, Mayflower Residence Hall has 1,027 beds, which makes it the second-largest dorm on campus behind Catlett Residence Hall, which houses 1,049 students at full capacity.

Still, some Mayflower residents feel this change will be a good one.

First-year student and Mayflower resident Ellie Mumma said sometimes living in the residence hall can feel isolating because of its distance from main campus, so she’s glad the university plans to sell it.

She added she’s excited to see what potential uses could come from the building once it’s sold.

“I think it's a great idea that the university is planning on selling Mayflower,” Mumma said. “It's such an old building, so I'm not sure how much they're wanting to sell it for, but I feel like this is going to be such a good move for the university and for whoever plans to buy it and whatever they plan to do with it.”