The senior room draw process came to a conclusion on Tuesday, Oct. 30 as the final group selected their housing for the 2013-14 school year. For many current juniors and expected fifth-year seniors, the end came as a relief to a stressful process.
“I think it was more complicated than my past three years here. I was expecting it to be easier,” junior Larissa Makris said.
This feeling seemed to preside amongst a large majority of students who participated in the room draw process. Many feel that the process is prolonged and complicated, when all they want to do is choose a room and be done with it.
“They over-complicate a fairly simple process. I mean, there’s not that many rooms, and it should be fairly simple as to how many people get into what rooms. They really shouldn’t need to change the number,” junior Mike Abate said. “I think you could pretty much do it all on the same day. Literally have people sign up, get there, make sure they have their room and then pick the room all in the same day.”
Prospective seniors had three major issues with the room draw process this year. First, they were upset that the room draw numbers changed two times, resulting in two null numbers and a third, finalized one.
According to Administrative Secretary of the Office of Housing and Residence Life Cindy Boochoon, there was a reason for everything that happened.
“Study-abroad students, Resident Assistants and Hall Security students were eliminated from the pool,” Boochoon said. “Keith [Moore] and I didn’t know that these groups of students were excluded, so that kind of had some speed bumps along the way.”
Boochoon and Moore, the assistant director of Residence Life for program development, stepped in this year to take over the senior room draw process after Assistant Director of Residence Life for Operations Stuart Sparvier’s resignation in September, according to Boochoon.
Since neither Moore nor Boochoon had ever been in charge of the room selection process, they had to learn certain aspects as they went along.
“We didn’t know how the whole process worked up until that Friday or Monday after room draw numbers were posted,” Boochoon said.
One of their first kinks came in the form of the groups that were accidentally excluded from the room draw process.
“The reason why they were originally excluded from our understanding is because it was under the assumption that they would also be working for these same departments the following year, so they wouldn’t need a room draw number. But we’ve changed that, and we’re going to include them in the room draw process,” Boochoon said. “We don’t know if they’re going to be in that same position the following year.”
The first time the original numbers changed was to include the current Resident Assistants and Hall Security students who will be living in senior housing next year. Unfortunately, study-abroad students were left out, which was discovered soon after. The addition of these students led to the second numbers’ change, resulting in a third and final number for every student.
Although they sorted out the numbers, the second issue that has existed within students’ minds for quite some time is the simple question of how the numbers are created.
“People still don’t really know what goes into making your number,” Abate said. “That’s my biggest gripe. I don’t know how they get a number.”
Boochoon sent out a mass email to all students participating in the senior room draw process outlying the four components used to create students’ numbers, which was put in place last spring to replace the old way of assigning numbers.
“We take four things into consideration when generating a number,” Boochoon said. “We take a student’s earned credits, then we take how many terms they’ve been in housing, we take how many judicial hours they have, and then the final piece of that is their GPA, and that determines their number.”
These components are not placed in a formula, however, but instead, are put into a spreadsheet and sorted. Moore and Boochoon worked for the majority of a day with IT to assess the four criteria to produce students’ numbers. This process replaced the archaic way that numbers used to be assigned, which was a mystery even to Boochoon.
“I’ve been here for five years, and I think this is probably the most accurate way to generate numbers, because in the past, I don’t even think anyone really understood. It was just basically random,” Boochoon said. “We didn’t want to put something out there that we thought was unfair, so as students were coming to us with questions, we were stopping the process and looking at it to make sure what we were doing was fair.”
By switching to this new, merit-based system with set criteria, Boochoon believes that students will get more of a fair chance for housing. In the past, there was an equation that Boochoon was not even sure about that guaranteed a student either a good or bad number for all four years at SC. That is no longer the case.
The last issue that students seemed to have with the process was that they received notifications of business holds the day that their rosters were due to Residence Life.
“Having the business holds the day of was probably the most stressful thing for a lot of people because they weren’t sure if they were going to be able to live on campus their senior year,” Makris said. “Based on when we went into the [Business] Office, I just feel like there was way too many people. I’m accustomed to hearing about one or two people having a business hold that came about, but there were so many people that had some kind of hold that I think it was just a lack of communication.”
According to Springfield College Bursar Olivia Kynard, “students are encouraged to view their bills regularly and contact our office if they have questions.” The Business Office held two information sessions during the week of October 8 to remind students to check for holds, but even so, a sizable number of students were still caught off-guard the day that rosters were due without any additional notifications of having any holds.
Despite the confusion and stress brought on by the senior room draw process, most students were able to choose their housing on Oct. 30 and finalize their living situations for next school year. For Makris and Abate, among others, the end came as a welcome relief. For Boochoon and the Residence Life staff, they plan on providing informational sessions this spring in preparation for next year’s senior room draw process to eliminate some of the confusion and chaos.
“Now that we’ve gone through that, we’re hoping next time will be a lot easier and smoother,” Boochoon said. “We are at a place where we understand the whole process, so I think next year overall will be a lot better.”