The view from: Hinton James

With the next edition of our residence hall series, it’s time to visit the most populous of the first-year residence halls: Hinton James. There’s something for everyone here, and with ten stories, it truly is a diverse place.

Hinton James houses the most students of any building on campus.
Hinton James houses the most students of any building on campus.


10. Hinton James is a 10-floor high-rise residence hall, located at 515 Hinton James Drive.

3. Hinton James has three elevators to reach each floor, which comes in handy considering there are four extra floors compared to the rest of the halls.

24.2%. That four-floor difference means that 964 students reside in Hinton James, and last year, the number of first-years residing in HJ made up 24.2% of the first-year class.

1. Hinton James has one true nickname – HoJo. It will be called by other names, but HoJo is used more often than Hinton James or anything else. Remember this when someone says “HoJo,” so you don’t have to ask whether they’re talking about a Howard Johnson.

View from the 7th floor balcony. (credit: Luke Drakulic #picslikeluke on instagram for more)
Incredible sunset view from the 7th floor balcony. (credit: Luke Drakulic #picslikeluke on instagram for more)


Hinton James is also set up in an “X-wing” style, just like Craige and Ehringhaus, with a central lobby area extending out to four wings. These wings contain open air balconies, which can be the best part of living here: the back and forth between Craige and HoJo of “Tar” “Heels” after sporting events is memorable. These wings have doors which open up to approximately three suites per wing – 8 person hallways with four rooms inside, each sharing a bathroom. The suite life consists of you, your roommate, and 3 other randomly assigned roommate pairs. The bathroom is cleaned by staff every weekday, which is a lot more important than one would think.


Hinton James was UNC’s first student (though I doubt he read this blog) and he actually walked to UNC. In 1795, James made the 170 mile trek from his home of Wilmington, NC, to Chapel Hill, to become the first enrolled student at UNC-CH. Whenever you complain about the walk from HoJo, keep in mind that the real Hinton James would think you’re lazy for not even walking across the state. He didn’t die for you to talk about a sore foot after a walk to Rams Head, and he rolls over in his grave whenever he sees you eat a whole bag of popcorn by yourself, watch Netflix, and take a bus to the library.

Amenities/Resources to Take Advantage Of

Hinton James is the biggest first-year residence hall, and as such, has quicker access to a few amenities than the rest of the first year halls.

Hinton James, like Craige and Ehringhaus, has a basketball court and volleyball court on either side of the building. There’s usually something going on at one of the courts, and the volleyball side also has an enormous, sun-lit yard which is perfect for relaxation, games, and studying. However, one court is not all there is: down the hill is an athletic complex which contains multiple tennis courts, two full-size basketball courts, and paddle tennis courts. These are pretty new, and very good quality – I suggest using them.

Also, seeing as Hinton James is 10 floors, try to take part in all the community events. Say hi to people when on the elevator, in the lobby, and making the trek up the hill to the bus stop or Rams Head. You have over 900 neighbors: Hinton James’ social scene is probably the best thing it has to offer.

Best moment

This story is one of those which you simply can’t forget. It begins in Craige, when I heard a roaring noise from outside. My room faced out so I could see half of HJ, and  I gleaned the noise was coming from over there. I had already experienced “Taaar” “Heeeeels” chants from Hinton James back and forth with Craige after wins (for example, Duke v. UNC football), but this was a Wednesday, and there wasn’t anything important happening. Music was blaring and it seemed like at least 300 people were on the balconies in HoJo. Intermittent cheering and chanting followed the initial sound, so I walked over. As I approached, a crowd was gathered around the court. Was it Marcus Paige shooting? Michael Jordan coming back to dunk on some kids? Were they laughing at JP Tokoto’s jumpshot? No, it was just a one on one game between two 5’8″ kids in cargo shorts. It started with just a few people cheering, and minutes later hundreds of people were cheering this game on. Moments like this really could only happen at Hinton James, and really speak to the camaraderie, sense of community, and fun of living in first-year housing.

Upward view of Hinton James from the entrance. Credit to Luke Drakulic #picslikeluke
Nearly a quarter of all first-years call this building home. (photo credit to Luke again)

Closest Bus Stops

Hinton James has two main stops – the “Hinton James” bus stop directly outside the hall and the Bowles Drive/Smith Center stop located down Bowles Drive. Of all the first-year halls, knowing and utilizing the bus schedule is most necessary in Hinton James, unless you love walking. A bicycle would also come in handy if you have early classes on North Campus. Remember Hinton, though. He walked 170 times more than you ever will in one trip at UNC.

Comparison with other first-year halls

    – Of the first-year halls, Hinton James is the furthest from North Campus.
    – At the time of this blog’s writing, it is inaccessible from the Bowles Drive entrance due to construction (It will re-open by September 2015!).
    – Hinton James is by far the biggest first-year hall, with 300 more students than the 2nd-largest.
    – Hinton James does not have individual room numbers like other high rise buildings; instead, their suites are given a number and A,B,C,D rooms. So, for example, you live in 903 B rather than 945.

Enjoy your stay here – it’s a historic building and has the largest number of residents.

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