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The Tangerine

The Student News Site of Utica University

The Tangerine

The Student News Site of Utica University

The Tangerine

Burrstone House: Remember when?

Photo by Kaitlyn Tambasco.

Current students and alumni share memories of long-time residence hall.

From a sketchy elevator to spending time with friends to hiding things in the wall, Burrstone House has seen it all since UC acquired the residence hall in 1987. Students reflected on some of their memories living at this dorm that is now temporarily back as a replacement for Pioneer Village after the pipe burst earlier this month.

The recent closing of the Burrstone House let out a flood of emotions from current students to transfers to graduates. College officials said closing the dorm would help the college save on resources, such as electricity and heating bills. Another reason the hall was closed was to accommodate students after many said the walk across Champlin Avenue was unsafe.

Some students agreed with the decision to close Burrstone while others wish it remained available as a housing option. 

Memories with laughter and friends

Brittany Petrin met her long-term college friends living at Burrstone House. Petrin, a 2012 graduate, was a transfer student who majored in cybersecurity.

“I can remember nights of laughter and studying that helped us all pass the test that was our night’s problem,” Petrin said.  “We all moved along in our college career and to a new dorm but never forgot where we started.”

Memories in a full circle

Ann Ciancia ‘18, lived in Burrstone during her sophomore year with her roommate, Angela and noted how much she enjoyed the sophomore year experience activities. 

“I was also able to live there the summer before my senior year as a summer RA and continued to live in the same room my senior year being an RA for that building; I loved building connections with my residents and putting on different events for them and I felt like it came full circle,” said Ciancia, who graduated in 2018 with degrees in health studies, philosophy and Spanish. “I’m sad to hear it’s closing because it was a big part of my living experience on campus but really excited for students to have the opportunity to live on campus in the new Pioneer Village.”

Memories and leadership

Steve Harpst graduated in 1989 with a degree in public relations and was a student when the college bought Burrstone House. Harpst became a resident the first year it opened. 

He also worked with the dean of students to open the hotel’s club/bar, the Lemons and Limes Lounge, as a student club for dances, parties and special events. Harpst also managed the club for two years.

“It is sad to hear of the closing as it brings back a lot of great memories but the college needs to do what’s right for today’s students,” Harpst said.

Fire drills and friends
Morgan Golliver, a communications and media student who also lived in Burrstone, graduated in December of last year.

She said that even though she liked spending time with her friends and her boyfriend in Burrstone, she didn’t like that she was placed there during her final semester.

“I didn’t like the two fire drills in the middle of the night when it was freezing cold, or walking to and from campus alone,” Golliver said. “However, it was a nice space for two people and it had lots of room for my stuff.”

Golliver said she found it strange that Burrstone closed and expressed concern that the enrollment rate may skyrocket within the next few years.

Memories in the snow

After her sophomore year, former UC student Brittany Smith transferred to another school. Smith was an accounting major and lived in Burrstone from 2017-2018.  

She said that one of her memories was walking through a foot of snow just to get to class. Smith said she was confused about why Burrstone closed.

“I thought UC didn’t have enough housing for everyone so why would they close Burrstone when a new building opened and not keep both?” Smith said. 

“Haunted” memories

Junior Madi Akots is a double major in nursing and health studies. She explained that when she lived in Burrstone that her room was “haunted.”

“My room would have knocking noises, things flying off the wall, drawers would open on their own,” Akots said. “The lights would turn on and off and the shower would start on its own.”

Akots also said that her and her roommate named the “ghost” in their room “Robert.”

“I loved that room,” Akots said. “I miss that ghost too.”

Memories with friends… and a sketchy elevator

Shauna Mills only lived in Burrstone for a semester but said she had fun while living there, despite the elevator that she described as “sketchy.”

“I loved the large rooms and the off campus feeling of the building,” said Mills, a 2013 graduate who is now studying for her master’s degree in childhood and special education. “The only part that I hated was walking across the busy street in the middle of winter to get to class.”

Mills said she is sad that Burrstone has closed since she felt it was almost similar to a rite of passage to live in that building during one’s sophomore year. 

“Everyone in my sophomore year lived there and I’m sad to see future classes not get to experience what we did,” Mills said. “I’m sure if the elevator was updated and less sketchy more people would appreciate it for the amazing building it truly is.”

Memories of bringing friends together
Isabella Mesturini just started graduate school at UC for physical therapy. Her memory of Burrstone revolved around living with her best friend. There, the two shared laughs, smiles, breakdowns and memories.

“It bonded us together and allowed us to truly understand one another in our home away from home,” Mesturini said. “I love her and I will always remember Burrstone fondly because of that experience.”

Mesturini said she is neither upset nor happy about the building being closed. She looks back at her time there with fond memories and said she understood what needed to be done for current students.

Memories within the wall

Even though Jack O’Connor, a psychology child-life major, did not graduate from UC, he was a student from 2000-2002 and lived in Burrstone for one year. 

O’Connor’s memory involved him and some friends partying in Burrstone. During the party, someone punched a hole in the wall. By the end of the night, the hole was about two feet across.

“We covered it with a poster for most of the semester and did the worst patch job imaginable before moving out,” O’Connor said. “We used anything we could find to patch the hole, plastered over it, and painted it.”

The group also stood a piece of furniture in front of it before leaving. O’Connor said he also expected to get a bill in the mail for the damages but he never did. He said he still wonders if the building materials they used to cover the hole are still there. 

“It’s sad to see Burrstone go,” O’Connor said. “I spent seven plus years bouncing between different colleges but my favorite years were at UC.”


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