Why room draw was not online this year 1

By Jared Huhta

Resident Assistant James Parker writes in rooms. (Photo by Jared Huhta)

The online room draw system used in last year’s process was not offered for this year’s room draw. Instead, the paper system used in previous years was used during the room selection process April 15.

The online program, initially created in 2011 for a group senior project, wasn’t ready in time for the 2011 room draw. Another group of students finished it for their 2012 senior project, and the finished model was used in last year’s room draw. Students selected their rooms online, similar to registering for classes online. It was originally praised for being a quick alternative to the paper draw system, which requires students to select their rooms in a selection night in the Habecker Dining Commons, Jesse Brown, associate dean of student development, said.

“We had good feedback about the online room selection process,” he said. “We would use the online system again but want to see about some amendments to it that can address the single room efficiency and the first year student rooms.”

Brown said that when students signed up for single rooms last year, it took the entire room offline.

“It took the RDs [resident directors] days and weeks following room draw to determine if they just didn’t have a roommate, were rooming with an incoming first-year student or wanted a paid single room,” he said. “All the while, students were on waiting lists because they couldn’t get into a room.”

During J-term, Brown met with the resident directors to discuss using the online system for the spring room draw.

“The majority of the people involved in working with the room draw system are no longer here,” Mallory Jones, resident director of Baker and Roush halls, said. “That was definitely a factor because the online system required a level of management that is probably easier to facilitate with additional people present,” she said.

Senior Adam Neumeyer helped out with the online program last year and met with Brown Feb. 8 to discuss the necessary changes.

“I told him the improvements that [Brown] wanted to make seemed pretty simple,” Neumeyer said.

However, Brown informed him March 5 that they would be using the old system again.

“It’s maybe a little bit disappointing, but it’s up to them,” Neumeyer said. “I don’t feel hurt or anything. It’s not that big of a deal. If he thinks the old system works better, I’m fine with that.”

Brown said they have not thought about how to make any changes to the online system.

“We need to find someone who has some sense of the program,” he said. “That might be Adam. I guess I didn’t want to put any pressure on him or anything like that.”

For now, the online room draw system is on hold for next year.

“We would use it again, but we’ll probably wait to see how we look next year,” Brown said. “The online system has a good start and can be used exactly as it is, but if we can tweak it some, it will make it more efficient for us and more efficient for students.”

This year’s room draw system was different than previous years under the paper system. Instead of having students randomly assigned a number and having it called on selection night, students came to the DC at specific times depending on their class. Current seniors planning to take a fifth year arrived at 9 p.m., juniors at 9:15 p.m., sophomores at 9:45 p.m. and freshmen at 10:30 p.m.

There are also no more rooms specifically designated for incoming freshmen. Instead, current students can select any room on their floor, making it easier for current freshmen to remain in the same room they had, Brown said. Before, they had to give up their rooms to incoming freshmen, regardless if they wanted to stay there or not.

“We wanted to give as many options as possible to current students,” he said. “I think most incoming students rarely have a specific room in mind. We felt like [incoming] first-year students had priority over current students.”

Once resident assistants, campus ministry coordinators, incoming students and students living in Forester Village are counted, there are less than 200 rooms available for selection.

“At the end of the day, the RDs and I want students to be totally happy about their living situation,” Brown said. “That’s the goal.”

One comment on “Why room draw was not online this year

  1. Reply Bob Hindy (2012 Computer Science Senior) Apr 30,2013 3:05 pm

    “Brown said that when students signed up for single rooms last year, it took the entire room offline.”

    This statement is entirely false. Not a piece of it is true. During the room draw process last year, the online room draw was not offline at any time except when HU lost internet for a few hours.

    “‘The majority of the people involved in working with the room draw system are no longer here,’ Mallory Jones, resident director of Baker and Roush halls, said. ‘That was definitely a factor because the online system required a level of management that is probably easier to facilitate with additional people present,’ she said.”

    Few of the RD’s last year stated that the online system was easier to facilitate than the paper system.

    “‘It took the RDs [resident directors] days and weeks following room draw to determine if they just didn’t have a roommate, were rooming with an incoming first-year student or wanted a paid single room,’ he said. ‘All the while, students were on waiting lists because they couldn’t get into a room.’”

    This statement is true. We had too many single person rooms last year. We needed to put a limit on how many people could be in a single person room without the consent of their RD or disable single person rooms entirely unless the student had the consent of their RD.

    Over 90% of students polled last year stated that the online system was better. I’m sad to see it go away and be replaced by the former inefficient and costly paper version.

    I contacted Jesse Brown during March to see if he needed any help. I did not receive any reply. I would be happy to make any changes in my spare time if they would contact me.

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