Room draw approaches with changes to process

Room draw is approaching for another year with several significant changes to the drawing and selection process. Along with removing resident advisors and those who have been approved for special-interest housing from the drawing, the Office of Residence Life will try to minimize the amount of sophomores living in upperclassmen dorms, as no students will currently be approved to live off campus.

Room draw numbers are scheduled to be released on Feb. 29. Gretchen Kerr, the associate director of residence life for housing, believes the room selection process will be less confusing and more fair for other students.

Women in sororities used to apply to live on the fourth floor of Brooks Hall, where the sorority suites are also located. This year, they will have to select the rooms on the fourth floor through the regular room draw process.

In the past, RAs and students in special-interest housing, like the language houses or the gender-neutral dorm Allegheny Hall, would be given draw numbers. Without them, Kerr believes students will get a more accurate draw number.

Kerr said that special-interest students also occasionally came in during room draw and selected a room, which meant they were holding a regular room and a special-interest room. If these students are not given a draw number, Kerr hopes they will not come to the selection process. This will keep them from technically holding two spots.

Because residence life can currently house all of the Allegheny students, Kerr and Jen Foxman, the assistant dean of students and director of residence life, cannot foresee any students being released from the four-year residency requirement to live off campus.

If the college accepts a higher volume of students than anticipated, then there are students on a waitlist that was opened on Jan. 29. Kerr said after around an hour of the waitlist being opened, 52 students had already signed up.  

Even if residence life is permitted to release some people,  RA Ben Thomas, ’17, said it is unlikely that it will be as many as 52.

“It depends on a lot of factors, but for now it’s not looking good,” he said.

With no students being released to live off campus, Kerr and Foxman agree that it is time they take measures to limit the number of sophomores in upperclassmen dorms.

Although Kerr said there are not many sophomores doing this, residence life has received numerous complaints about it. Minimizing the occurrence is a measure to save those spots for upperclassmen.

“We have to make it…developmentally appropriate housing,” Kerr said. “We understand that this is a big change and we’re trying to be empathetic to that.”

Foxman said that, in order to make sure as many students as possible were getting what they wanted, residence life has sent students home without a room if they were among the last sophomores to pick in years past. Residence life then reconvened and would turn over some of the rooms they were originally holding for incoming freshmen as new options for the rising sophomores to pick.

Ben Thomas, ’17, worked room draw as an RA last year helping to check people in. Due to the stressful nature of upperclassmen room selection, Thomas was grateful that he worked with rising sophomores instead.

“With the seniors, people get nasty,” Thomas said.

Although Thomas said the system is not perfect, he thinks the room draw and selection process is improving.

“I feel that we’re going in the right direction…but there’s still a lot we can work on,” he said.

Foxman said there have been discussions about new ways of doing the room draw process, but no changes will be implemented this year to the currently random drawing.

“It’s been talked about before, but right now this is the fairest system we have,” Foxman said.