Loyola’s hotel partnership houses students


Natalie Gunderman sits in her room at the Alder Hotel. Gunderman has lived in the hotel since the beginning of this semester, utilizing the housing partnership between Loyola and the Alder Hotel. Photo credit: Michael Bauer

Sofia Mongillo

Loyola decided to partner with the Alder Hotel Uptown to offer a living opportunity for upperclassmen who were denied on-campus living for the fall 2020 semester amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Natalie Gunderman, psychology junior, is among the Wolf Pack students who was placed in the hotel as a result of the partnership. Gunderman said its like living on campus but with different facilities, including a maid service that comes once a week to change out sheets and clean bathrooms.

The Alder Hotel’s off-campus housing option offered residents both double and single rooms at similar rates to on-campus housing at Loyola, according to an email sent out to students starting off the semester.

Loyola was prepared that the demands for social distancing would exceed residence hall capacity, so it partnered with the Alder Hotel to ensure that students had options. The university expected to use a lottery system to choose who would get to live at the hotel, but having applied late for housing, Gunderman was assigned to reside in the Alder Hotel on Magnolia Street, about a mile away from campus.

Additional services said to be provided by the hotel include parking, courtyard and swimming pool access, housekeeping services and shuttle transportation, according to the university’s housing options page.

“Overall, I think I’ve had a good experience,” Gunderman said. “However, I think the staff definitely has a little bit of a reserve about the college students. The staff is really respectful, but there are a lot of things that we don’t have access to that the other guests do.”

The hotel is expected to be a safe place for students who are trying to juggle a college workload and a COVID-free lifestyle at the same time. The hotel staff is taking the same precautions Loyola is on campus. Social distancing is enforced, masks are required, and Gunderman said she’s noticed staff cleaning a lot of things.

“I really haven’t had any run-ins with anyone who wasn’t complying,” Gunderman said.

Moving forward, the university’s housing options page mentioned the possibility of upperclassmen returning to on-campus living for the second semester. However, there is no update to date.

“I actually really like living here,” Gunderman said. “It’s really clean and, overall, I haven’t had any negative experiences so I do think the school’s decision was a good one.”