Views expressed in opinion columns are the author's own.

The University of Maryland has begun planning new residence and dining halls on North Campus, where the varsity practice fields currently sit. They will be designed by the same firm that imagined the Edward St. John Learning and Teaching Center, one of the most beautiful, practical and dynamic buildings on campus. Dining Services spokespeople say that the dining hall will be designed to create comfier spaces for people to eat alone or in groups. It will also be designed with the Anytime Dining plan in mind, which has been a pillar of this university's sustainability goals.

This university is moving in the right direction by constructing new and more efficient social and personal spaces for students. I see improvements in my own work ethic and overall mood when I am in aesthetically appealing spaces. When I study or work in the St. John center, I feel more motivated and confident in my work, although this may be partially (mostly) a result of the venti frappuccino I buy from the basement cafe.

Regardless of my own habits, a new residence hall is long overdue. Though I am one of the lucky ones placed in a dorm with air conditioning, some of my friends cannot say that. One of my friends told me early last semester that if you didn't know the North Campus dorms ­— excluding the newly constructed Oakland Hall — belonged to a college campus, you might mistake the buildings for a detention center.

People I know in Ellicott and Hagerstown halls are dreading the incoming spring that will bring warmer weather and stiflingly stuffy dorm rooms. Many people find it harder to concentrate, sleep and enjoy the company of others when melting in indoor temperatures upwards of 80 degrees. Though these may seem like small complaints, sleep, the ability to concentrate and overall happiness can contribute to students' academic success and thus the success of the university as a whole.

The renovation of the North Campus Dining Hall and a new residence hall on North Campus will improve the quality of life of students living there and help the university move toward greater modernization, efficiency and overall prestige.

Michela Dwyer is a sophomore English and philosophy major. She can be reached at