Residence Life introduces new housing software

The Housing Director ready for spring semester

Allegheny College’s Office of Residence Life will introduce new room selection software for the 2018-19 academic year. The software, called The Housing Director, is expected to be ready by March 2018, when students start selecting their rooms for the next year.

Maureen Muckinhaupt, associate director of residence life, said students will notice a few changes when they go through the room draw process. For example, the entire room draw process will now be online. Some of the other significant changes include how the college deals with students trying to select housing as a group.

“When you go in as a group, your number will be an average of everybody’s numbers, not the best [one],” Muckinhaupt said.

Muckinhaupt said the focus on averaging groups numbers was an attempt to housing selection fairer for the general student population. Traditionally, seniors who wanted to room with friends who were juniors would be able to use their early pick to bring their junior roommates into the room with them and not have a penalty. However, there could be downsides to those situations.

Since everything is averaged out, everyone has a more fair chance of getting in better housing.

— Travis Court, Class of 2018

“When a group goes to select a room and perhaps the size of apartment or suite that they need is not available, they have to then remove somebody from their group to be able to select,” Muckinhaupt said. “By doing average number, what that has enabled us to do with the software is that that group can now split into two groups, and both select at that time.”

Muckinhaupt said the changes were focused on making it more likely that seniors will be able to select the housing they desire.

“Seniors and juniors can live together in upperclass housing, but with the averaging of the numbers, if you pull in juniors, your ranking will go down as a senior,” Muckinhaupt said.

Muckinhaupt said the college had been wrestling with the issue of seniors pulling in juniors for a while.

“That was an issue that I heard a lot about during my interview for this position, that there were juniors that were pulled into groups with a high number senior, and that juniors were pulled into upperclass housing before seniors had even selected,” Muckinhaupt said. “So this will also help to address that issue.”

Muckinhaupt said Residence Life had been working with the software since August, generating a list of all the housing options at Allegheny.

“We in residence life are working in the software now, so if we do room changes and that sort of thing, we are doing it in the software,” Muckinhaupt said. “The student part — the first time that students interact — will be during room selection.”

Eventually, the residence life is hoping to have all housing concerns handled online.

“Moving forward, we will have more information available online,” Muckinhaupt said. “So [Room Condition Reports], work orders, room change processes — that stuff will all be electronic.”

Travis Court, ’18, serves as a co-director of student affairs with Allegheny Student Government. He said Muckinhaupt talked with him about presenting the new software to ASG.

“Since everything is averaged out, everyone has a more fair chance of getting in better housing,” Court said. He mentioned the new software would make “super groups,” comprised of juniors and a senior with an early room selection slot, obsolete.

“So what you could do previously is, if you had a senior with a high number, they could live with a bunch of juniors that might have had bad numbers. But now the way it works is that those numbers now get averaged together,” Court said.

Court also mentioned the new system would simplify room draw.

“The way room draw used to work was very hectic and confusing, and you never really knew what you were going to get,” Court said.

He said the new system would not require as much staffing.

“We don’t have to have seven to 10 people working a room draw night just to try and make sure everything goes smoothly,” Court said.

Court said not everyone would like the changes, especially at first.

“I think there’s going to be some growing pains this year, especially from the junior class people that have a very low number,” Court said. “I think juniors one to 100 are going to be fairly upset because it’s not what they’re used to.”

Court expects, however, that younger students will prefer the new arrangement, as they would potentially have a better chance of getting their preferred housing option.

“I think that the sophomores and the freshmen students will really come to like it because it’s more fair towards them, and it makes the options more possible,” Court said.

Miles Oladimeji, ’19, said while he feels the system was mostly fair, he wishes the draw numbers were assigned more systematically.

“Sometimes people do get really bad numbers, and I think you know, how people are randomly selected for these numbers, I think that’s one issue,” Oladimeji said. “But apart from that, I think it’s pretty fair.” He said he feels the current system does not need many major changes.

“I don’t really think this room draw thing needs to change that much, because like I said, it’s a pretty fair system in my opinion,” Oladimeji said.

Oladimeji said he wished the current room draw system offered students more information about the available living options, especially the respective costs.

“Because people go into [North Village] I, find out they can’t afford it, and have to move to Crawford or Brooks,” Oladimeji said.

Oladimeji, who lives in North Village II, said College Court was his first choice for housing. However, the group he wanted to room with had to split themselves up among College Court, North Village I, and North Village II.

“The people I had the room draw with, we had a disagreement on living in College Court, so we just moved to NVII,” Oladimeji said.