As the semester draws to a close, the to-do list for students gets longer and time gets shorter. For dorm dwellers, one of the first things on that list is housing selection.
Last week, the two-night event for students to select their housing began. With lines out the doors of the 1787 room, it was clear it was going to be a hectic two hours.
Before the event, students must have paid their housing deposit and filled out their contracts before they could receive their priority number, which is given based on credits earned so far.
“I went to room selection and when I walked up into the Campus Center, I was a little overwhelmed,” said Megan Elrick, a sophomore who decided to squat her room in Hoff. “Everything looked so disorganized and there were a lot of people.”
The first night of the event is for residents who want to squat their room, move rooms but stay in the same building, have a single, want to live in themed housing, or want one of the apartments in Rutland.
The second night is for those who want to switch buildings completely.
Students say they wait in line after line during the housing selection nights to be directed by different people what to do next. Some feel the process could be improved.
“In this day and age, there should be no reason that the entire campus has to cram into a tiny room and sit for two hours just to squat or change rooms,” said junior Briana Bocelli. “If they had an online system where squatters have first choice and all the remaining people who want to change rooms in the same building or change buildings entirely can just look at the options available and choose from those.”
Despite her thoughts, such a system is not in the near future for Castleton.
“Part of the thing about online is once you select the room, that's it. If you're there (at the housing selection night) and you want to change your mind within a few minutes you can change,” said Mike Robilotto director of residence life. “Once it’s online it’s locked in, you can’t go back and just change it.”
Another factor that contributes to the decision against an online system is they are very expensive. When they looked into the idea a few years ago, an online system was approximately $7,000, Robilotto said.
So then, how can the system be improved?
“I think informing the students more on what is actually going to go down those two nights,” said junior CA Jenna Goldsnider. “They do have sessions that are hosted by the director of residence life, the ACs and the AD. I wish more people went to them so they weren’t so discombobulated when they get there.”
Goldsnider says that it is a large task to inform and entire student body about rules and regulations.
However, Robilotto also thinks the selection nights would go more smoothly if students were more prepared upon arrival.
“We email out ahead of time to fill out your housing contract prior to arriving,” Robilotto said. “Unfortunately. that first night we had a large number of students who did not fill out their online housing contract so that slowed the process.”
Robilotto understands that the process is confusing for students, so next year residence life is prepared to make some changes to try to inform students even more about what needs to be done.
“I was a little embarrassed at first because I thought I was going to be one of the few people who forgot, but it turns out that there were so many people besides me that had forgotten to fill out their housing contracts,” Elrick said. “At one point the housing contract line was longer than the room selection line.”
According to Goldsnider and Robilotto, with a combination of student preparedness and making sure they are properly informed is the key to an easier process for all.
“We’re looking at potentially moving locations, (of the event) and having a housing contract pick up prior to room selection starting,” Robilotto said.
This housing contract pick up would be a period of time where he would be in his office and students must pick up their housing contracts during that time. By adding that deadline, he hopes it will encourage students to be more prepared.
“It was a handful of students who were not prepared that held up the students that were prepared,” he said.