Students have mixed feelings about housing process

By The Beacon | March 9, 2011 9:00pm

(Kevin Kadooka -- The Beacon)

By Sarah Hansell, Staff Writer --

On Sunday afternoon, The Chiles Center was crowded with students hoping to secure housing for next year. There were long lines as well as Resident Assistants darting back and forth helping students find out where they needed to be. Some RAs even staffed stations for refreshments and therapeutic finger painting just in case some students got a little too stressed out.

"It's like Ellis Island slash the DMV all in one," junior Nicole Callahan said.

Among all of the commotion, a confusion with the point system (which determines each student's priority in getting his or her preferred housing) caused sophomore Rob Cagan and his housemates to be denied a UP-owned house. Instead a house was given to people who were not next on the list.

"It was a breakdown in communication," Cagan said of the error.

Cagan and his housemates had to make the decision to try to secure dorm rooms.

"We made a Plan B to all room together in Shipstad," Cagan said.

Cagan scheduled a meeting with Director of Residence Life Mike Walsh the next day, who was able to find them a University-owned house, though the process is pending.

"He looked at the situation, and he found an option that (my housemates and I) are extremely happy with," Cagan said.

The point system is what determines the priority students have for housing selection. Points are determined by time lived on campus and credits earned. Students get 10 points each for their first and second semesters, 20 for their third and fourth semesters, increasing by 10 each year. They get one point for each credit they earn at UP, and a half point for transfer credits, excluding AP credits, which don't transfer into points. Students also get 200 points if they opt to return to the same hall.

"The idea of the point system makes sense," Cagan said. "I'm not sure that necessarily the weight of those things makes sense."

Some students expressed frustration with the point system and were worried they would not get into their preferred residence hall as a result.

"GPA should be part of points," junior Matt Tominaga said.

This year students were divided into two groups that went to the Chiles Center at different times to select housing: those looking for housing in UP-owned houses or Haggerty Hall and Tyson Hall, and those applying for housing in any of the traditional dorms.

"(The process) has gotten better from what I've heard," RA and junior Erica Jornlin said. "This is great the way they've divided upperclassmen in the morning."

Despite changes from past years, many students were frustrated with the selection process, and thought it was disorganized and chaotic.

"I would've been better off just squatting," sophomore Corey Belle-Isle said. "Now I'm just going to end up in a random room."

The fact that the process happened the day before midterm week put added stress on some students.

"This is the absolute worst week to do this," Tominaga said.

However, according to Walsh, housing selection used to be done later, and students didn't like having to wait until after spring break to find out their housing situation.

"We had students say they wished we'd do it earlier," Walsh said.

Though some students were unhappy with how the housing selection process went, many others felt this year's process was a big improvement from past years.

"It's much less chaotic than last year," RA and senior Kim Schuldt said.

Students stood in different lines based on the time they were assigned, which was chosen based on their point total. As soon as certain housing became unavailable, projection screens in the lobby were updated, allowing students to see what housing was still left before it was their turn to select.

"I think they're doing the best they can do," freshman Max Lyon said.

Walsh is satisfied with how the process as a whole went this year.

"It definitely went more smoothly than last year," he said. "We've housed over 1,000 students."

(Kevin Kadooka -- The Beacon)

(Kevin Kadooka -- The Beacon)