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FEBRUARY 23, 2011

an advertising special edition of The Daily Texan

INSIDE > SAVE SPACE and DECORATE using these tips pg. 3-4 > SPICE UP your new pantry with four simple ingredients pg. 9 > YOUR GO-TO GUIDE for today’s Housing Fair pg. 10-11

Longhorn Life

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February 23, 2011

Editor’s Column

First-time renter eats from freezer, reluctantly LONGHORN shows apartment and learns about herself


By Jordan D. Schraeder After living in a dorm my freshman year, I decided to make the jump to an apartment last fall. I had big dreams for my first place. The interior decorator in me spent entirely too much money buying matching furniture, ordering artsy posters of Marilyn Monroe and coordinating the colors of my living room with my kitchen utensils. Was it worth it? Absolutely, and it will be for you as well. Here are a few things I’ve learned as a first-time apartment renter. > No matter how much cookware you purchase, you will live out of your freezer. My reliance on my microwave is unhealthy and I know it. I have a perfectly good Crock-Pot hiding somewhere in my kitchen, but have I used it? Negative. Honestly though,

I barely have time to put shoes on in the morning. When am I going to find time to prepare a meal? This year has made me a master chef ... of Lean Cuisines and frozen pizzas. Zap them for a few minutes and voila! A tasty, over-processed microwaved entrée. Sure, I’m ashamed to be admitting this on paper, but a girl has to eat! > Realtors can (and will!) drop by multiple times a week. “Hi! I’m an agent from [insert realty company] and wanted to let you know that I have an appointment to show your unit from 4-5:30 tomorrow. Thanks!” This is an actual text I received from a realtor at a wellknown local realty firm. Note how they don’t ask me if that time works with my schedule. And did I get a phone call out of courtesy? No.

Did you know that there is most likely a clause in your lease that says realtors can walk into your apartment at any time? I sure didn’t, but apparently a realtor can show prospective renters your place without your permission and without any regard for your schedule. This semester, I’ve had, on average, 10 realtors walking in and out of my apartment on a weekly basis, waking me up, looking at my things. So yes, 10 different people have seen my dirty laundry, my empty pantry and my unmade bed this week. I honestly have no privacy whatsoever. I’ve even changed my voice mail greeting so they will stop calling me about showing the apartment. My suggestion: Check your lease before you sign it. If I had known about this mess, I honestly would have looked for another place to live.

> You will learn a lot about yourself. I have to check the locks on my door twice before I go to bed. I would much rather clean a toilet than do the dishes. I think walls are more appealing when they are covered in pages from fashion magazines. I refuse to eat any food that is nearing its expiration date. I never would have learned any of these qualities about myself living in my parents’ house. Moving into an apartment, you acquire a new set of responsibilities, limitations and opportunities. My advice: Enjoy the process. No, I don’t always enjoy vacuuming the floors or scrubbing the tub. But, for the first time, those floors and that tub are mine. I’m starting to feel like an adult, and while that’s absolutely bizarre, I think I’m starting to like it. Freedom really is a beautiful thing.

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Longhorn Life is an advertising special edition of The Daily Texan written and produced by students. Copyright 2011 Texas Student Media. All articles, photographs and graphics are the property of Texas Student Media and may not be reproduced or republished in part or in whole without written permission. Contact us: Special Editions Office, HSM C3-308 Texas Student Media 512-232-8351

February 23, 2011

Doing By Caitlin Clemenson & Karin Samelson


One of the most common complaints about living on and around campus is size and as a result, the difficulty in making a temporary space feel like a home. Sure, fitting all of your things in such a tiny space can be a challenge, but it’s not impossible. Here are a few ideas to turn any living situation into an organized, stylish and personalized oasis.


> A messy living space appears even smaller than it really is. Invest in clear storage bins or stacking baskets, which you can use to organize virtually anything from T-shirts to food. They can also be labeled. Both containers and specialty labels can be found at Bed Bath & Beyond or The Container Store. If you’re

Longhorn Life

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things with a small space

on a budget, use colored paper or tape instead for labeling. These bins can be stored under your desk, bed or in your closet to prevent a disheveled floor. > Think outside the clear container! Try using a Command Hook to hang scarves, purses and ties on your wall. Bonus: the hooks come off the wall without leaving any residue. The Home Depot and other retailers carry multiple sizes. > Save space in your closet by snagging a shoe organizer that hangs on the back of your door. These can be found at Target and typically hold either 12 or 24 pairs of shoes. You can also buy a hanging closet, which attaches to the metal bar in your closet to maximize space. These built-in shelves compact T-shirts or shorts, leaving more hanging space for nicer clothing. > De-clutter your desk by purchasing adhesive click lights instead of bringing a lamp. These

Make an apartment feel like home with these simple tips

click lights, available at any home decor store, stick to virtually any hard surface and save valuable desk space. Stick them to the wall next to your desk or other furniture. Invest in at least one click light as a backup to those built-in desk lights in dorm rooms.


> Feeling cramped? “Light colors create an impression of a room being larger – this includes both surface colors and furniture colors,” said Irina Solovyova, assistant professor of interior design at UT-San Antonio. When shopping for paint colors, look for light mints and blues. If your lease prevents you from painting, tack up a tapestry or decorative sheet to hide gloomy walls. Still not satisfied? Invest in a few mirrors. “Your space will seem larger through reflection,” Solovyova said. > Whether they’re pictures,

Lara Haase / Texas Student Media

“I think of peacock feathers as being associated with refinement as well as exoticism,” said international relations and Middle Eastern studies sophomore Gabrielle Castagno of her world-travel-inspired apartment.

posters or records, waking up to the things you love will absolutely brighten your day. Frames from Urban Outfitters are affordable and make walls more appealing. Classic albums, which

Half Price Books carries for as little as 99 cents, add visual appeal to walls and doorframes. > Lighting is an ideal way to DECOR continues on page 4



Longhorn Life

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h SO fres and n SO clea

February 23, 2011

new place.

A tidy kitchen can brighten any apartment By turning these simple tips into habit, you can effortlessly keep your kitchen clean while cooking up masterpieces in your

rethink yogurt


> Always be sure to keep a small grocery bag handy for trash — (I like to keep mine on the pantry door handle) — and take it out immediately after cooking (i.e. egg shells, meat packages, vegetable peelings). That way, nothing containing dangerous bacteria or unpleasant smells stays in the kitchen. > As you’re finishing up using plates, mixing bowls and pans, place them in the kitchen sink and rinse immediately. After you finish cooking, all of the

dirty stuff will be in one place and the bulk of the mess rinsed off, which will make doing the dishes a much less daunting task. This also allows for the counter tops to stay uncluttered as you finish making your meal. > Be sure to keep a reusable jar handy for any extra cooking oil. Putting oil down the kitchen sink causes potential clogging. Once the jar is filled, simply throw it away. > Always clean materials (knives, cutting boards, etc.) that touch raw meat and eggs imme-

diately after use with hot water and soap to reduce any chance of foodborne illness.

> Keep leftovers in Tupperware containers and place in the fridge. Be sure to consume no more than four days later to avoid spoiling.

> Finally, after eating and doing the dishes, be sure to quickly disinfect the kitchen with Lysol spray or disinfecting wipes. This will remove any sticky mess or bacteria left behind on the countertops and cooktop. — Alyson Rotunda

DECOR continued from page 3

bring warmth into a room. Escape the harshness of fluorescent lights by opting for outside fixtures that have a yellow tint. Rope lights from World Market are a great way to make a room more inviting. One last tip that’s sure to exhibit style and save space: “Definitely get things with double uses, like a chair that has a storage unit,” said Karen Rivera, a consultant for Bed Bath & Beyond’s headquarters in New Jersey.

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Stephanie Bathurst / Texas Student Media

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Longhorn Life

February 23, 2011

Technology COLUMN

‘Loner’ in smart phone technology finds practical use By Colby M. White Watching the adoption of new technology is like watching the new girl in a low-cut dress walk into school. Every boy wants a shot at her, but no one knows exactly how to get her number. Does she like the rugged bad boys, the chiseled jocks or the straight-A hermit in the back row? After a semester of being the school tease, the QR Code may have finally found her date to the prom. QR Codes, otherwise known as Quick Response Codes, have been the loner in a growing field of mobile technologies. The codes look like random squares of black-and-white dots, but they can be scanned by a smartphone to obtain information. So far the codes have been used to send the browser to a website. It’s an incredibly unimaginative use of the codes, especially since Web addresses do exactly the same thing. And Web addresses don’t look like barcodes put through a shredder. Of course, most who have a smartphone that can decipher the codes – a number that’s growing steadily – don’t even realize there is anything to decipher. The popularity of the codes has been limited to technophiles for most of their existence, making many people skeptical of their effectiveness. But QR codes have a distinct ease-of-use advantage. Once you figure out how to use them on your phone, it’s a snap – literally. Just pull out the camera and scan. The trick is finding a way to harness that advantage. Enter the real estate industry. The “for sale” signs on the front lawns of houses can draw

in prospective buyers who happen to be passing by. But, these signs can only deliver so much information. If you’re trying to figure out how many square feet make up the property, you’re going to have to dial a number. But thanks to a couple of clever real estate agents, more and more of those signs are featuring QR codes. Customers who see the sign can quickly scan the code and be directed to a website featuring more information on that particular property. No writing down a number. No fumbling to enter a URL. No missed customers. It’s an application in which the simple redirect to a website is actually a big deal. If getting to that website’s vital information takes too long, the customer is lost for the real estate agent. The sign only becomes useful if you can remember the phone number long enough to dial it. QR codes solve this problem with ease. QR codes’ potential in real estate is already getting noticed. Three-dimensional versions of the codes are beginning to appear, and Michigan company QR Flyer Box was created specifically to create signs for real estate companies. Like most new technologies, the question was never if the QR technology worked, but if there was a use for it. That is usually the hardest part of technology adoption. But now that she’s got a date, the QR code could be just a short time away from becoming one of the cool kids.

White is a computer science senior and a Web programming and services consultant for an Austin technology provider.


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Longhorn Life

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Good Eats COLUMNs

Try it out!

February 23, 2011

Mastering the art of French home-cooking By Stephanie Bathurst

Mon petit chou. In France, people call their special someone this endearing term that literally translates to “my little cabbage.” It is also used by parents calling their children little darlings and by an intimidated American graduate student to describe the French meals that pave the decadent road ahead. Alors, bienvenue mes amies! Welcome to the sophisticated and delicious world of French cuisine. In the fall of 2006, I traveled to Angers, a traditional French town in the fertile wine region of the Loire Valley. My host mom took great pride in fattening me up with authentic French food. Several nights a week, my American roommate and I enjoyed a four-course meal, ranging from rabbit stew to roasted horse meat. Yes, the French do actually eat horse. Cheese and wine were as mandatory as forks and knives, and most meals were accompanied with a digestif: a shot of liquor to help your body

Moules à la Marinière 2 cups light, dry white wine 1/2 cup minced green onions 8 parsley sprigs 1/2 bay leaf 1/4 teaspoon thyme 1/8 teaspoon pepper 6 tablespoons butter 6 quarts scrubbed, soaked mussels 1/2 cup roughly chopped parsley

Stephanie Bathurst / Texas Student Media

Pommes frites are not meant to be eaten with ketchup. Instead, use a fork to dip them in the sauce left over from steaming the mussels.

digest the decadent meal you’ve just devoured. I have been dreaming of these dishes since I left France, but have rarely attempted to recreate them because the complexities of French fare have made me nervous. All of that changed a couple of weeks ago. I’ve begun to challenge my-


self to not only attempt, but to succeed in creating the traditional meals I’ve been craving all these years. On the agenda this week is a French classic called Moules Frites, or Mussels and Fries. The French cook this meal in FRENCH continues on page 9

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Bring all but last two ingredients to boil in a large pot. Boil for 2 to 3 minutes to evaporate alcohol and to reduce its volume slightly. Add the mussels to the pot. Cover tightly and boil quickly over high heat. Frequently toss the mussels in the pot using an up and down motion so the mussels will change levels and cook evenly. In about five minutes, the shells will swing open and the mussels are done. With a big skimmer, dip the mussels into wide soup bowls. Allow the cooking liquid to settle for a moment so any sand will sink to the bottom. Then ladle the liquid over the mussels, sprinkle with the parsley and serve immediately.

Baked Pommes Frites 6 russet potatoes 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil Salt and freshly ground black pepper Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut potatoes lengthwise into half-inch-thick slices. Place the potatoes into a pot with boiling water and 1 tablespoon of salt. Boil for two to three minutes. Drain carefully and put potatoes in a bowl. Add olive oil, 1 tablespoon salt and half a teaspoon black pepper. Toss well and lay out in one layer on baking sheet. Bake until light brown.

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February 23, 2011

Home is what’s in the pantry By Sheri Alzeerah For some, going back to your hometown means spending time with loved ones. For me, home signifies one thing: a pantry fully stocked by the loving hands of Mother Dearest. If you knew how feeble my apartment food supply is in comparison to Mama Alzeerah’s miniature Wal-Mart of a pantry, you’d understand. Granted, there’s no competition between us when it comes to my magnificent stash of Easy Mac ($1 a box!) and Club Crackers (2 for $4!). But all of this processed cheese-flavored powder and partially hydrogenated oil got me thinking. For the sake of my health and sanity, I should probably invest in real food. And this year, I did. With these four pantry staples, I ended up saving money, cutting back on bad fats and sugars, and most importantly, making my mommy proud. Pasta: There’s a reason why Italians are so pleasant (with the exception of the Mafia and Benito Mussolini), and that reason is probably pasta. Stock up on packs or boxes of noodles, grab your favorite jar of sauce — extra points for homemade — and the rest is as easy as boiling water. Meatballs or meatless, the pastabilities are endless. Rice: The possibilities with rice are endless too, but there isn’t a pun to do it justice. If you’re low on time and cooking skills, no need to fret because boxed rice comes with all FRENCH continued from page 8

a variety of ways, ranging from onion to curry-based broths. Ketchup has no place in this meal. Instead, the fries are eaten with a fork and dipped in the sauce leftover from steaming the mussels. The end product is more delicious than you can imagine. I am using the recipe of Julia Child, the American queen of French food, for this meal. Moules à la Marinière is a simple wine- and herb-based version of the recipe that costs about $15 for all the ingredients, with half a bottle of wine

the spices you’ll need. Rice is an inexpensive, easy side that complements a range of meats, stews and veggies. Canned tomatoes: Let’s be real — the college student’s food pyramid is usually lopsided. Thanks to the invention of the canned tomato, it’s easier (and more delicious) to be a veggie-lover. From the diced to the whole to the stewed to the crushed, tomatoes go through a lot before finding a home in your pantry. Show them some love by blending them into pastas or sloppy joes, or make your own salsa or marinara sauce. Ground Cinnamon: Looking back on the pinnacle of my musical taste, it’s a shame the Spice Girls didn’t bother to include a Cinnamon Spice. Cinnamon Spice would’ve had the best parts of all the Spice Girls: Ginger’s feistiness, Baby’s sweetness, Scary’s craziness, Sporty’s toughness and Posh’s husband. Add this kicker to cookies, or go the savory route with barbecue sauces and marinades to spice up your culinary life. Just as Oreos aren’t Oreos without milk, an apartment isn’t a home without a carefully constructed pantry. With these trusty must-haves holding down your food fort, you can kiss that linoleum-colored brick of ramen noodles goodbye. Or just add some canned tomatoes. Alzeerah is a journalism and radiotelevision-film sophomore and creator of Austin food blog Chow, Bella!, web. left for the main course. As I set out to accomplish this seemingly ominous task, I was pleased to realize that it was one of the easier meals I have made. Check out the recipe to try it yourself. My favorite part? Pouring a glass of wine, throwing on a French film and enjoying my surprisingly not-so-hard work. The mussels were delicious paired with Cabernet Sauvignon, and the green onion sauce was perfect for my home-cooked fries. As I enjoyed my meal, I sat back, relaxed, and watched “Queen Margot.” Ah, now this is what I call La Vie en Rose.

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{inside tent} Longhorn Landing This affordable and good-looking oasis sits just off East Riverside Drive and is accessible via multiple CapMetro and UT Shuttle bus routes. Apartments are fully furnished, monthly rent includes bills, and the complex boasts that one of its two hot tubs is the largest in Austin. 1515 Wickersham Lane / 866-301-7379 / facebook. com/longhornlanding Shuttle Bus Tours Discover more properties in West Campus by hopping on a free Shuttle Bus Tour. If you sign with a complex on the route, expect a $100 check on your movein day! Dobie Center The largest private student housing in Austin, Dobie is conveniently located directly next to campus and offers luxurious amenities such as free cable and Internet as well as free weekly housekeeping. 2021 Guadalupe St. / 888-523-0890 / Village at Riverside This student community provides everything you need. Fully furnished apartments, hardwood floors, free cable and Wi-Fi, a clubhouse and a game room provide an environment any student would want to enjoy. The fenced dog park and sand volleyball courts add a unique touch to this community. 1500 Crossing Place / 512-386-5200 Zinger Hardware This hidden gem has way more than just hardware. Stop by and check out Zinger’s collection of furniture, cookware and gifts. 2438 W. Anderson Lane / 512-533-9001 / Villas on Guadalupe You can’t miss the colorful, Austinesque facade just down the street from campus. The floor plans’ spiral staircases and lofted rooms (plus the all-student vibe) will give you that New York-meetsAustin feel. 2810 Hemphill Park / 512-2200200 / Princeton Review Need to get into graduate school? The Princeton Review is here to help prepare you for the required stan-

With 30 vendors all on the Gregory Gym plaza, you’re going to need help navigating who’s who. Follow this map and stop by every booth. There will be plenty of freebies and food!

dardized tests. 2025 Guadalupe St., Ste. 148 / 512-474-8378 / Red Mango Frozen Yogurt This West Campus newcomer offers all-natural, non-fat frozen yogurt, parfaits and smoothies. Check out the menu’s signature flavors: original, pomegranate and Madagascar vanilla. 2222 Rio Grande St., Ste. C120 / 512-476-1496 / Freebirds World Burrito With five Austin locations, this Texas native specializes in flame-broiled chicken and steak burritos that will keep both your stomach and your wallet full. All entrees are less than $10. 515 S. Congress Ave. / 512-462-3512 / Jimmy John’s Order one of Jimmy John’s gourmet sub sandwiches and it’ll be at your door in record time. After all, their slogan is “subs so fast you’ll freak.” 601 W. MLK Blvd. / 512-478-3111/ The Quarters on Campus These seven West Campus apartment buildings vary from quaint to modern in appearance and intimate to large in size. Residents of all the buildings have 24/7 access to The Quarters fitness facility and ample parking in the 1,250-space garage. 2222 Rio Grande St., Building D, Ste. 200 / 512-531-0123 / Point South Bridge Hollow Apartments Just six minutes from the UT campus, this complex has spacious apartments that include fireplaces and walk-in closets. 1910 Willow Creek Dr. / 512-444-7536 / Oak Hollow Apartment Homes Located in the Far West neighborhood of Austin, this apartment complex provides several amenities including a playground, pool and picnic area. Grassy courtyards and shaded trees set a peaceful scene in this convenient location. 7201 Wood Hollow Drive / 512-345-5000 Rainier Management This company specializes exclusively in smaller apartment communities and takes pride in the service it provides. Resident retention is Rainier’s No. 1 goal. 512-451-9855 / Duval Villas Located in Austin’s favorite neighborhood, Hyde Park, this apartment complex is only minutes away from UT and downtown Austin. As a bonus, discounts are available for first-year students, and the complex offers free HBO. 4305 Duval St. / 512-451-2343 / BH Management As pros in the realty business, this property locator operates in 14 states, working hard to make your life a little

easier. Pay your rent online to save time. Roscoe Properties Managing a wide range of locations, Roscoe Properties is a great option for those looking to move farther from campus while still being able to get here within a reasonable time. 602 W. 7th St., Ste. C / 512-480-9886 / The Block on Campus The Block offers a rooftop lounge and a game room to relax in after a long day of studying. Free cable, 24 hour fitness centers, and a washer/dryer in every unit make this apartment complex difficult to resist. 2501 Pearl St., Ste. 101 / 512-634-8099 / University Towers Located in the heart of West Campus, this off-campus dorm has six options for floor plans and comes with a dining hall and other amenities such as housekeeping services, a 24-hour computer lab and a game room. 801 W. 24th St. / 512-4725846 / 21 Rio Apartments With big windows and rooftop views, this reasonably priced high-rise apartment building offers a roommatematching service, a parking garage and a heated salt water pool. It’s next door to everything campus-related and minutes from downtown. 2101 Rio Grande St., Ste. 1001 / 512-391-1991 / College Houses College Houses is a non-profit student housing cooperative that is owned and run by the student residents in each of the co-op’s seven houses. 1906 Pearl St. / 512476-5678 / The Venue on Guadalupe Offering one- and two-bedroom floor plans with the option for a balcony, this comfortable student residence is easy luxury living. The Venue sits down the street from campus and features frequented retail space on its first level. 2815 Guadalupe St. / 512-473-3706 / The Castilian Perhaps the best on-/off-campus combination, this can’t-miss building is across the street from the Union. Talk about convenience. 2323 San Antonio St. / 512-478-9811 / Dell Computers With strong ties to Austin, Dell computers are some of the most cost-effective and user-friendly options. Ask about the new Inspiron duo convertible tablet. 1-800-999-3355 / {outside tent} University Commons Another haven off of East Riverside

Longhorn Life

February 23, 2011February 23, 2011

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J 26

Drive, this apartment complex is perfect for students needing to get away from campus without being too far. University Commons offers washers and dryers in the units, has a 24-hour fitness center and sits on the UT shuttle bus route. 1600 Wickersham Lane / 512-385-7300 / Austin’s Park This Austin attraction boasts go-karts, mini-golf and a rock-climbing wall. Bo-

You found your dream apartment. It’s in the heart of West Campus with an affordable rent and free parking. Sounds perfect, until you discover the family of cockroaches living in the floorboards and the history of vandalism to your room. You should have discussed these issues with your realtor before you signed a lease agreement, but it’s too late. Luckily for you, this complete checklist will help you avoid any future housing dilemmas and bring you one step closer to securing a lease that makes you happy. Terri Fulton, a realtor for Apartment Finders Service with 15 years of experience in the UT area, suggests first finding an experienced realtor who will show you everything in your price range, not just his or her own listings. When starting your search, make sure you know exactly what you are looking for. “Know the location you want and the budget you need to stay within,” Fulton says. There are a variety of options out there, and your perfect home for next semester is waiting. Bring this checklist of questions with you to the Housing Fair and ask realtors and apartment managers about properties today. Good luck!


University Commons

nus! Bring your college ID in on Wednesdays to get half off your admission. 16231 N. I-35 / 512-670-9600 / Jefferson 26 With unique features like a rooftop garden above the garage, spa and BBQ grills on site, this student housing complex has a lot to offer. Balconies and patios add to the appeal as well as the extended cable offered with multiple HBO channels. 600 W. 26th St. / 512-477-3400 /

J West

Furnish 123

Jefferson West With a 42-inch plasma TV in every apartment, you can rest assured that you’ve made the right choice in your housing search. You can’t beat a free on-site tanning salon, coffee bar and pool. 2704 Rio Grande St. / 512-236-1903 / Furnish 123 Creating your own space has never been easier! Furnish 123 has all your

living, dining and sleeping furniture needs covered. A plus for busy students: All like items are priced equally, so no need to search for bargains elsewhere. 6601 Burnet Rd., Ste. 200 / 512-419-7744 / 512 Realty A first-rate apartment locator in Austin, 512 Realty has consistently been voted one of the best services for the campus community. The biggest bo-

nus for students: All services are free. 600 W. 28th St., Ste. 101 / 512-322-0512 / With a slogan like “Play Hard, Work Hard, Live Well,” you know you are in for a good time with this modern locator service. This realtor strives to provide a tight-knit community lifestyle in which neighbors are more than just neighbors.

page 11

>How much is the rent and when is it due? >Are there any late fees? >How long is the lease term? >Are any services included in the rent, such as cable and Internet? >Are utilities charged by individual apartments or averaged between residents? >How do I contact the management or maintenance office? Are they available 24/7? >How much is the security deposit? >How much is the application fee? >Can you sublet this apartment?

{The Building}

>What type of air conditioning/ heat system is installed? >Are there smoke alarms or

sprinklers? >Are any pets allowed? Is there a pet fee? >Can I paint the walls? >Is there laundry in the building/ complex? >How and where will I send/receive mail? >Are kitchen appliances included? >How old are the appliances?


>What are the most common maintenance requests? >How do you handle pest control? What are the most common pests? >Does maintenance ever enter apartments without giving notice?


>Does management organize any community events? >What facilities are offered (pool, gym, business center)? >Can my guests use these facilities? >Where is the nearest public transportation? >Is there a history of theft, vandalism or other crimes? >How much noise comes through the walls? >What is the noise level on the weekend? >Can you hear people in the hallway? >If the neighbors smoke, does the smoke come into this apartment through vents or windows?


>Is parking included? If not, how much is it? >Is parking paid on a monthly or yearly basis? >Do residents have assigned spots? >Are car break-ins a problem? >Is there guest parking?


>What are the safety features of the apartment? >Do gates and doors open with a code, card or another method? >Have you had any break-ins in the past year? >What is the most common safety complaint of residents?

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Longhorn Life

February 23, 2011

student org profile

page 13

Look for the UTMOST SURVEY The first-, second- and third-place winners RESULTS in the MARCH 11 will be presented in these categories:


Corey Leamon / Texas Student Media

Members of Habitat for Humanity’s UT student chapter work on a home on a Saturday this month. The group participates in work days regularly throughout the year.

UT’s Habitat for Humanity builds, repairs houses By Elisabeth Haarsager On a chilly weekend morning this month, 29 dedicated students gathered at a house in north Austin to volunteer for a day of home repairs. As early as 8 a.m., members of Habitat for Humanity’s UT chapter were hard at work, repainting exterior walls and wielding power tools. Acquiring a spot as a volunteer on these Saturday work days is so competitive that the group’s volunteer coordinator, biology sophomore Jae Pi, has had to institute a waitlist system. Established at UT in 1989, this organization participates in five work days a semester, which are scheduled by Austin Habitat for Humanity. The campus chapter is a studentled organization that strives to support Habitat for Humanity International through building, advocating, fundraising and educating. Habitat for Humanity works to build and repair affordable houses alongside the homeowners, who must also put in 300 to 500 hours of sweat equity themselves.

Biology sophomore Alex Limas, UT’s chapter president, said seeing the reactions of the homeowners when the work is completed is gratifying. “One time I was at a dedication, when the house was given to the family,” Limas said. “We had worked on this house several times throughout the semester and it was finally finished.” As part of the UT chapter’s “rebuilding phase,” the next big goal is to completely sponsor a house, Limas said. This would entail building the house from the ground up and providing all necessary funds for the process. According to the Austin Habitat for Humanity website, it would cost $65,000 for a group like the campus chapter to fully sponsor a house. “[Texas] A&M sponsors houses all the time,” said volunteer coordinator Pi. “We want to copy that and beat them.” For more information about the UT chapter of Habitat for Humanity, find them on Facebook or visit their website at

If you have any suggestions for student organizations to be featured in a Longhorn Life edition, feel free to e-mail us at

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Longhorn Life

page 14

February 23, 2011

On or off campus? The first decision in apartment hunting By Elisabeth Haarsager It may only be February, but it is already time to think about where you are going to live for the 2011-2012 school year. While the options vary from dorm to co-op and apartment to house, it really boils down to one overall choice: on campus or off campus? When considering places to live, keep these criteria in mind: price, location, privacy and roommate options.


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First, you have to decide how much you are willing to spend on your next home away from home. The basic price for any on-campus dorm during the academic year is $8,504 for a shared room with community bath, while a single room in Duren, the newest residence hall, goes for $14,791, according to UT’s Division of Housing and Food Services website. Payment can be made in several different ways, the fastest being to pay for the entire long session all at once. Other alternatives are to pay in two installments: one in the fall and one in the spring. You can also pay in six installments, with an additional $8 charge per semester. Prices off campus vary greatly. When looking at different locations, be sure to ask what exactly is included in the rent. Extra expenses and monthly bills can add up quickly, so take your time to find the best deal.

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Living on campus, everywhere you need to be is within minutes. You will never have to deal with the headache of finding parking when you are running late to class, and you can even sleep in later. “You just walk across the street to the PCL [to study] when you’re living on campus,” said finance and pre-med junior Ryan Thomas, who lives off campus now, but spent his freshman year in Jester Residence Hall. “Living off campus, you need better time management skills.”

Stephanie Bathurst / Texas Student Media

Chemical engineering freshman Brian O’Connor studies in his San Jacinto dorm on Tuesday.

Many apartments in West or North Campus, however, are also close enough for you to walk to campus. If you decide to live farther away from the University, such as south near the Riverside and Oltorf area, you will either need to be on the UT Shuttle or CapMetro bus route or use a car to get to campus.

{Privacy & Roommates}

For most students, having at least one roommate, if not two or three, is inevitable. Chances are you will have to share a bedroom if you live in any of the 14 on-campus dorms. Single rooms cost more than shared spaces, and the DHFS website states that there is limited availability of single rooms, most of which are assigned to returning students. Sharing a bedroom may mean less privacy and more distractions when studying. Living off campus can offer a solution to this problem, if you have your own apartment, room or quiet study space. “I shared a bedroom for a semester in my apartment, but then I just couldn’t do it anymore,” Thomas said. “It was too close for comfort.” If figuring out where to live for next year still seems like a daunting task, think about enlisting the help of a realtor or apartment locator for off-campus living. Whether you want to live in an apartment, dorm or house, once you decide which factors are most important, the process becomes much more manageable.

Longhorn Life

page 16

February 23, 2011

EXpert q&a

Jester RA shares insight into working with peers By Lara Grant

If you’ve lived in a dorm on or off campus, you remember that door down the hall with the “RA” sign on it. On top of being students, resident assistants wears many hats. They act as role models, disciplinarians and counselors to their fellow students for whom they’re responsible. We asked Jester resident assistant Justin Warden, who is a marketing junior, for the inside scoop on managing the role of RA. Longhorn Life: What made you decide to be an RA? Justin Warden: My freshman year I lived in Jester West and had an amazing RA who was able to get the entire floor to interact with each other. It made my transition from high school to college very easy. [My RA] told me I would make a good RA. So, I applied with the intention of replicating the same floor interactions my RA facilitated. LL: Did you have to go through training? What was it like? Warden: Yes, we train at the beginning of every semester. We spend about two weeks in training during the fall and one week before the spring semester. It’s a lot of staff bonding through different workshops. We do role-playing exercises called

“Behind Closed part of the RA role. Doors” with past We also hold buildresident assistants, ing-wide events and the [UT Police like carnivals. Department] comes Jester also just got and acts too. a Blu-ray player so LL: What does your we’ve been showjob entail at Jester? ing movies. Warden: All RAs LL: How do you have to work the typically help stufront desk once dents? a week and then Warden: I help we’re on call to them with roomwork twice a month. mate disputes, We also give tours room maintenance for both middle and issues, emergencies high schools. that come up, and I LL: How many direct them to nustudents do you manmerous resources age as an RA? on campus like Warden: My first [the Counseling year I was an RA and Mental Health for 50 residents. I Center], Sanger currently serve 76 Center Stephanie Bathurst / Texas Student Media Learning residents. and [University Second-year Jester RA Justin Warden LL: What types of Health Services]. events or activities do you organize for them? One student was thinking about being an Warden: I have planned numerous RA, so I gave him advice and helped get events including wing dinners, dance par- him in the process of applying and interties, movie nights, sporting events and viewing. I also had one student who was educational programs. It’s definitely a big fighting with their roommate to the point

of it almost being physical. So I help mediate with roommates and try to figure out compromises. LL: What is it like working with other RAs? Warden: We work together often and it’s fun. There are about 10 programs a semester with other RAs. When we’re on call, it’s also with other RAs. LL: How has your position been difficult? Warden: It can be difficult at times to manage being a full-time student and overseeing the well-being of more than 50 residents, but it can also be very rewarding and fun. LL: What are the perks of your job? Warden: If you live with a roommate then room and board are free. If RAs choose to live by themselves, then they pay around $2,500. RAs also get a free meal plan and a monthly stipend. LL: What is your favorite part of being an RA? Warden: I like working with the other RAs. They’re like an automatic group of friends. LL: How do you feel about the experience so far? Warden: It has taught me great leadership, time management and conflict-resolution skills that have given me a leg up in other opportunities, such as internships.

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Longhorn Life

February 23, 2011


a promotional look at things to do, places to go and services to check out

page 19

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Get in shape and learn self-defense simultaneously at this local Brazilian JiuJitsu training program. Whether you’re searching for a stress-relieving activity or are interested in learning martial arts, Gracie Barra Austin is a great option for all types of students. There is no training necessary for these family-friendly programs as the classes are tailored to fit various ages, genders and skill levels. After just eight months of training, participants can qualify to take black belt training courses. And who doesn’t want to be able to say they have a black belt? Enroll in a free class today.

aruba tan Yes, spring break is just around the corner. And what better way to get in the vacation spirit than to start bronzing now? With tanning packages starting at just $29, Aruba Tan has the solutions to everyone’s tanning needs. This Texas company houses four types of European beds to individualize your tanning experience. Aruba Tan’s staff is professionally trained in administering ultraviolet light, and the salon strictly adheres to all sanitation safety regulations. If you want to steer clear of the tanning beds, Aruba Tan boasts the best airbrush tan in Austin. Make sure to check out the website regularly as they have spring break 2011 specials coming soon.

Already broke the screen on your brand new iPhone? Got a new phone and need to transfer your data? With most repairs taking only half an hour, Onsite Cellular Repair will have you covered, no matter your phone’s needs. The company provides services from basic cosmetic repair to refurbishing and component replacement and keeps its rates reasonable for customer satisfaction. Its staff has a combined 25 years of experience in the cellular repair industry. Onsite Cellular has locations in Dallas, Austin and Houston, and even offers mail-in repairs. Special for students! Onsite Cellular Repair is offering 10 percent off phone repair services for the month of March. Take advantage!

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EL GRECO The name says it all. If you’re looking for traditional Greek fare in the campus area, El Greco, “The Greek,” has exactly what you want on its robust menus. El Greco uses generations of family recipes to make truly authentic Greek food. Open for lunch and dinner, this Mediterranean hot spot also serves vegetarian and vegan food and tops it all off with specialty Greek beers and wines. Try family favorites such as the Gyro Plate and the Baklava. No matter what you’re in the mood for, try El Greco’s online ordering option and even get your meal delivered. Visit the coupon section of El Greco’s website for deals and discounts.

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Longhorn Life: Housing Guide  
Longhorn Life: Housing Guide  

Tips for finding the best places to live on or off campus