New housing process generates positive feedback among students

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Often times, people are resistant to change. However, the recent changes in the housing application process have made DePauw students pretty happy.

 "I think students are excited to be able to pick who they want to live with, and then say, ‘These are the people I'm going to live with,'" said Myrna Hernandez, director of Campus Living and Community Development. "It is focused on relationships."

In an attempt to facilitate those relationships, the Independent Council hosted a mixer last weekend for those still searching for fellow students to live with. Although the event was less successful than the organizers hoped, Independent Council President Annie Bowers, a sophomore, said the event was necessary with the housing changes.

"This is going to be a big change for students," she said. "We wanted to have a mixer so that if someone didn't really have a friend group, they could meet people."

A team of students and Student Life staff devised the system in December. Placing students with desired roommates is the highest priority, followed by preferred living space.

Students applying for placements in residence halls can apply individually or in a group of up to 10 people. Juniors and seniors applying for other housing units can apply in even-numbered groups of up to 10 students. After choosing a group to live with, students list ­­­— in order of preference — the living units they want, so long as the units vvare available to them. 

"I think it has both positive and negative aspects," said sophomore Brittany Slate, who lives in Bloomington Street Hall and hopes to live in something other than a dorm next year. "It's nice that we no longer have to depend on the chances that our lottery number is high enough. But at the same time, if you decide who to live with and then they place you in a dorm, you kind of get the short end of the stick."

In an attempt to develop a stronger sense of community, the new application process emphasizes class-based housing.

"It's a good thing," said sophomore Ariana Mckeithen-Mead, a resident of Senior Hall who wants to live in Rector Village next year. "This year, I'm meeting people I didn't even know were in my class. I think it further unifies the class more than it has in past years."

Additionally, the new system simplifies the application process that previously caused confusion among students.

"It is much simpler to understand," Hernandez said. "It used to have lots of rules and lots of asterisks. You could do this ‘but…' There was a lot of that and there is very little here. I think students are excited that it's much simpler."

In past years, the housing lottery was used to place students, but the process became too complicated and few students understood it.

"The new process is a lot better than the lottery," said freshman Micheline Figel, a resident of Hogate Hall. Figel has her sights set on Mason Hall for her living unit next year. "I know a lot of people felt like they got ripped off in past years. People talked about not getting what they wanted with the lottery, and this is a lot easier and lets people live with who they want and where they want."

Students applying for housing under the new application process have less than one week to make final arrangements for the fall semester — the deadline is 4 p.m. Wednesday.