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Davis, California

Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Dorms 101: Where are you living?

UC Davis has three housing areas for first-year and transfer students. These three clusters of dorm buildings are hotbeds for new students to make friends and get to know each other better. Sometimes the housing areas will put on events for its students like Halloween or Christmas parties, potlucks or even NFL playoff viewing parties.

Each housing area has its own dining commons (DC). While people often claim that different DCs taste better than others, their menus are nearly all the same. The menus for each DC can be found on the housing page on the UC Davis website.

Another important detail about the dorms it that all three regions have a student services center. The student centers, while all different, offer the same amenities including a computer tech hub, tutoring, free printing and even sports equipment and cooking supplies for free use.

While each dorm has something different to offer, each provides a similarly memorable experience to every resident.


Cuarto is located northwest of the campus but is hardly on campus. Residents have to cross the street to get to campus — which can be good for some students who like to have a separation between their home lives and their academics.

Due to the distance, some students take advantage of Unitrans and take the bus to class. However, Cuarto residents are the closest of all dorms to the University Mall (U-Mall), putting them near various eateries and other shops on the edge of campus.

Jeffrey Nguyen, a second-year economics major, lived in Thoreau last year.

“Cuarto basically forces you to talk to your dormmates because there’s not much there since it’s a bit far from campus. The good thing is that it’s closer to local stores,” Nguyen said. “The bad thing about living in Cuarto is when it rains; it’s really troubling to get home.”

Cuarto consists of three halls; Thoreau, Webster and Emerson. It used to include Castilian as well but that was closed last year. Webster and Emerson have a pool and spa, something unique to Cuarto.

Cuarto is also unique due to its suite-style layout. There are two to four rooms that all connect to a main common area, where many students install televisions and create a living room to share with their suitemates.


Segundo is the largest of all three dorm areas on campus and is located a short way from Cuarto, on the south side of Russell. It is divided into four regions: Regan Hall, Segundo Towers, Segundo North and Primero Grove.

Regan Hall has seven halls and houses several specialized living-learning communities such as “Music, Arts, and Performance” and the Multi-ethnic program. Regan students are also privileged to have their own courtyard for sports activities, social gatherings or even studying.

Segundo Towers is made up of four halls, all of them five-story high-rises. The first floor is simply a large common area accessible to any student living in that building, complete with couches, television, a kitchen and even a piano. The high-rises are situated closest to the Segundo DC, which students say they consider to be a benefit.

Segundo North has three halls that are considered to be more aesthetically appealing, mainly due to the fact that they are newer additions to campus. The halls are located next to each other and are closest to the local Rite Aid down the street. Segundo North is home to the Integrated Studies Honors Program (ISHP) floor.

Tessa Siu, a sophomore animal biology major, lived in Segundo North’s Miller Hall in the 2012 school year as part of ISHP.

“I liked the location since it was close to the U-Mall and the DC. I knew everybody in my dorm,” said Siu. “The DC got crowded really quick sometimes too.”

Finally, Primero Grove, a recent addition, beginning to house students starting in 2011. Primero Grove are apartments that house transfer students. It has three buildings, all creatively named after trees. The fourth building that is farthest north, Laurel, continues to run as a private apartment complex for upperclassmen who still want to live on campus.


Located on the south side of campus, Tercero is famous for its cow smell because of the close proximity to the Dairy Cattle Facility. Because the smell has been known to intensify during certain hours of the day, former residents advise to never open the windows.

Tercero closed its letter buildings for demolition to make way for new buildings. Therefore, there are currently three regions of Tercero: Lysle Leach Hall, Tercero South and Tercero South II.

Leach originally was made up of single residence rooms but, because of the influx of students, they are being turned into doubles.

Tercero South, consists of two halls: Kearney and Laben. These two buildings were built at the same time and have similar floor plans. Designed to house large numbers of students at once, Kearney and Laben consist mostly of triples.

Tercero South II consists of three halls: Wall, Campbell and Potter. They were recently opened in 2010. One of the area’s special design features was a large awning hanging over one side of Wall Hall, sheltering students from rain and sun and creating a unique spot for any Wall resident to study or socialize. Wall is also home to the Davis Honors Challenge (DHC) too.

Natalie Larios, a senior human development major, said she enjoyed her time living in D building, currently under construction, in Tercero.

“I liked it but I didn’t hang out much in my dorm room,” said Larios. “There wasn’t much not to like.”

MICHELLE RUAN can be reached at features@theaggie.org.


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