North Texas Daily

International students react to new home

International students react to new home

October 29
02:21 2015

Joshua Legarreta | Staff Writer

@YouOpenTheChest

Marquis Hall may be flourishing thanks to recent updates, but some feel it’s still missing something that can’t be built or installed: heart.

In 2014 the building was scheduled to receive a number of much-needed renovations. After updating the systems established in 1969, when Marquis was converted from a residence hall to a series of office spaces, the changes took place over the course of a year. As a result, international services at UNT, including the Intensive English Language Institute and International Welcome Center, were relocated to the second floor of Sycamore Hall for the duration.

“Sycamore is more cozy, but [Marquis] is more professional,” criminal justice senior Chai-hung Liu said. “It’s kind of cold.”

As an international student assistant, Liu has helped students from across the globe find their footing at UNT since he began working there early in 2014. An international student himself, Liu hails from Taiwan. He followed in the footsteps of his sister, who also attended UNT and said he has come to enjoy working for the International Student Services but holds some personal reservations on the shift between Sycamore and Marquis halls.

While he proceeded to compare the workflow between buildings, Liu described Marquis Hall as more “systematic,” citing the accessibility of the building and the ease of finding specific services for international students. Despite the accessibility and open spaces, Liu said he misses the community at Sycamore Hall. Brought together by the limited space offered in Sycamore, Liu said he enjoyed watching international students interact with each other and talking to them from his workplace.

Some of the original windows from Marquis Hall were repurposed as welcome signs in the newly renovated foyer. Ranjani Groth | Staff Photographer

Some of the original windows from Marquis Hall were repurposed as welcome signs in the newly renovated foyer. Ranjani Groth | Staff Photographer

“If I could bring one thing from Sycamore Hall,” Liu began, pausing for a moment to think, “I wish I could bring the people.”

But not everyone agrees. Mary Beth Butler, director of communications at Marquis Hall, expressed her excitement with being able to serve students in a building she feels connected to through its past. The building was named after former UNT president Robert L. Marquis, who served from 1923 to 1934. Members of the Marquis family were invited to UNT and celebrated the hall’s reopening when the building became accessible to students and staff this September.

“One of the things I love the most about Marquis Hall is the history of it,” Butler said. “Establishing a great connection with the Marquis family, getting to know about Marquis and being in a building with his name on it is really special to me, and I hope that’s something I can share with people.”

Despite being a UNT graduate student, Andrea Jáuregui, who is from Mexico, found her first experiences with Marquis Hall to be fairly easy. She said she enjoys how streamlined the building is and added that the staff was more than helpful when she had questions. In comparison with her first experience visiting the UNT campus, which she was unimpressed with, her experiences at Marquis had a lasting impact that she said changed her views about the campus.

“UNT is huge at first sight. UNT makes you feel small,” Jáuregui said. “But it makes you feel like you’re a part of it.”

Featured Image: Members of the international community celebrate the unveiling of the peace pole in front of Marquis Hall on September 21. Ranjani Groth | Staff Photographer

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