Room Draw Process Requires Tinkering to Alleviate Student Stress
By The Executive Board
Last week, students anxiously watched the “ticker” count down the rooms available in each dorm. Their trepidation increased as the number of singles slowly dwindled to zero. Students who had the foresight to apply for theme housing congratulated themselves as they saw the worsening plights of their classmates. Room draw left many disappointed and in the limbo of opt-out, forced to wait until August to know where they will live next year.

The room draw process is designed to make housing selection as organized and fair to all students as possible, although this is a Sisyphean endeavor. We would be unappeasable brats if we didn’t recognize that room draw is an exceptionally hard process to run and that coordinating a fair method of assigning housing for a large number of students will have inherent difficulties. However, there are several aspects of the arduous process that could be improved.

The opt-out process is confusing and not a well-understood or explained option. Most students don’t envision opting out and therefore, when faced with pressure in Keefe, they make uninformed decisions to either opt out or not opt out. Though the opt-out options details are on the housing website, it would be helpful for ResLife to make sure students know that opting out is a popular option.

This year, there also seemed to be an issue of inadequate housing. When there were only doubles left, many rising juniors who entered alone rather than in a group had to opt out because they could not take doubles. Moreover, some unfortunate freshmen were not able get rooms because there were none left; before Room Draw, there should be adequate housing for every student entered into the process, especially because there are extra dorms on campus that are not even open next year. When so many students are uncertain about where they are living, it creates lots of unnecessary stress. As the College admits more students and the size of the student body increases, it needs to change the room draw process (and the number of available rooms) to accommodate the growing population.

Juniors studying abroad find themselves the most frustrated with room draw. Those who plan on studying abroad in the fall aren’t really allowed to enter room draw. If they do, they riskily game the system and are in danger of being caught. If they are certain they’re studying abroad, they’re force to opt out and are then in limbo for nearly a year. ResLife essentially leaves it up students to find vacancies from students studying abroad in the spring. This is extremely difficult to coordinate and frustrating when you realize you can’t go into room draw with your friends. One quick solution would be to provide a forum in which students and groups can post their necessities, and that way it would join together people who will have vacancies and those who need a place to stay.

One of the essential problems with room draw is that often, students feel alone and confused about what to do and who to approach. This uncertainty is especially terrible because in the cases we detailed above, a bad room draw/bad decision-making regarding room draw/bad luck can ruin someone’s housing for an entire year and put them far away from friends and acquaintances. We believe that in order to alleviate this inherent stress, ResLife should do all they can to inform students of their options and also should provide some forum where students can communicate their room draw necessities.

Issue 23, Submitted 2010-04-21 04:11:14