Tuesday August 27, 2002    |   UA NEWS   |   wildcat.arizona.edu
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DEREKH FROUDE/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Avery Freeland, undecided freshman, and Jason Last, Political Science freshman, try to make sense of the tangle of chords in their dorm at Manzanita-Mohave yesterday before noon.
By Paul Iiams & Jessica Suarez
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday August 27, 2002

DVD players, Todd Oldham sheets and La-Z-Boy recliners help students through their first year on campus

s freshmen settle into their dorms, they need to make sure they have the essentials for on-campus living: books, writing utensils, TV/DVD combos and Todd Oldham sheets.

DVD players? Todd Oldham? What do these things have to do with the education process?

Officially, they have nothing to do with school, but they might just be as essential as air and water for those trying to survive their first year away from home.

Gone are the days of the stark white, bare dorm rooms, the torn-up "Animal House" poster covering the water stain on the ceiling, and the hand-me-down sheets.

Retailers are now recognizing students' need to have functional and stylish dorm rooms and are acting accordingly, designing products for dorm rooms.

Target, 5255 E. Broadway Blvd., supplies products designed by Todd Oldham, a former couture designer, as well as appliances and electronics to fit dorm living.

CatTran made regular stops right at the front door for students without transportation looking to complete their dorm rooms just days before classes started.

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"We bought book covers that we're going to use as wallpaper."

- Justine Hart
Biochemistry Freshman

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Kristin Rapiejko and Margaret Thompson, both incoming freshmen, were outside waiting for the CatTran with dorm room essentials.

"Stacker shelves," Rapiejko said. "(The dorm) has no drawers except for the ones in the desks."

They also purchased something that may easily slip other students' minds.

"Laundry detergent," Thompson said. "The dorm doesn't provide any."

Tracy Bosshart, a psychology freshman in the Arizona-Sonora Residence Hall, says she's spent about $1,500 outfitting her room with things to remind her of home.

Her purchases include a bedspread and sheets, nightstand, stacking shelves, rug, trashcans, storage baskets, a blender, a hot water maker, picture frames and stringed flowers to hang on the walls.

Her purchases came mostly from Bed Bath and Beyond, 4811 E. Grant Road, and Target.

Due to corporate policy, none of the Target employees were able to go on record with details about business transactions. But, they were more than helpful when asked questions about the surge.

"We didn't have enough stuff," one associate said. "Some students said (the Todd Oldham Collection) was childish, but we sold out of a lot of items."

Students also had some unique ideas for brightening up their corners.

"We bought book covers that we're going to use as wallpaper," said Justine Hart, a biochemistry freshman. In addition to the "sparkly" book covers, she and her roommate who have been shopping wherever the CatTran bus drops them off have purchased a large shelving unit for their food and are planning to buy stringed lights to hang up.

Electronics are also big sellers with the dorm crowd. Watching "American Idol" and hooking up to the Internet are equally vital to a student's survival.

"We sold a lot of 13-inch TVs," another associate said. "The other big sellers have been the video and Ethernet cables."

Some students turned their dorm rooms into multi-media showcases.

"We have a TV, our computers, a digital video camera, a digital camera, an X-Box, a Playstation, MP3 players and a stereo," said Russell Means, a media arts freshman in La Paz Residence Hall, who says he's made sure all his electronics are compatible with his computer.

After a full schedule of video game playing and DVD watching, a dorm dweller might need a way to relax.

Roommates Chris Chronis and Alex Ralston will solve this problem with their La-Z-Boy chairs, which they say will fit nicely in their large room at Navajo-Pinal Sierra Residence Hall, alongside their surround-sound stereo system, TV and X-Box.

Other students say they won't let the temptation of theater sound and full, plush recline-ment lure them away from classes.

"Our room is simplified," said Tracy Woodell, an astronomy freshman. Her list of purchases includes filing cabinets, storage crates and a laptop computer.

She and her roommate, residents of the Coronado Residence Hall, agreed to keep their room strictly functional.

"We're not getting a TV because we knew we'd end up watching it and not doing work," she said.

While Woodell and her roommate focused on the bare necessities, a Target associate said many other students did not.

"Students have been buying non-essential items," he said.

"Todd Oldham hangers and an 85 piece cooking set. Do they really think they are going to use all 85 pieces?"

"School supplies aren't selling much," he added. "And the least purchased item is toilet paper. They know they're going to need it, but they never buy it." Maybe double-ply cotton DVDs will be next fall's biggest seller.

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