The last two weeks have been a flurry of excitement as students participate in room draw, selecting where and with whom they will be living for the next academic year. However, room draw can often be incredibly stressful, as freshmen have no experience with the process and sophomores and juniors are choosing between the various upperclassmen housing and meal plan options. For a more efficient and satisfactory room draw experience, the Editorial Board calls for University Housing and Real Estate Services to better publicize information on all aspects of room draw, allow mutual swapping of draw times within a two-hour window, clarify Housing’s online room blueprints, and revise the shared meal plan policy.
First, the Board calls for better publicity of information on all aspects of room draw. While the Housing website is quite useful, it would be beneficial if Housing sent out additional emails or notifications broadcasting the material found there. This would be particularly helpful for topics such as the proxy system, which causes confusion for many students, especially freshmen who have never been through the room draw process. An email sent after draw times are released, clearly outlining how the proxy system works and whom it applies to, would be helpful. Moreover, more emails containing important dates regarding room draw would also promote clarity and reduce stress in the process.
Because room draw occurs when classes are regularly scheduled, many students encounter time conflicts. They may skip class or other commitments to draw a room. Changing the time range of room draw to a later time that would conflict with fewer classes would force the Housing staff to work overtime as well as conflict with athletes’ and others’ extracurricular practices. Instead, the Board proposes the option for students to swap draw times with another draw group within a two-hour window, one hour before and one hour after their initial draw time. With this option, students will have more flexibility in solving scheduling issues while maintaining academic performance by staying attentive in class.
Furthermore, the Board advocates for more clarity and consistency in terms of Housing’s online room blueprints, specifically through clearer indication of room occupancy numbers and bathroom gender in the blueprints. Currently, there are floor plans for all living spaces at the University, but these plans often vary in quality, some containing more information than others. For instance, Witherspoon Hall’s floor plans include details such as room occupancy, while Walker Hall lists only the room number. Room occupancy for every available room can be found on a separate room selection page, but we believe it would be more convenient and less confusing if that information were directly placed on the blueprints. Students would not have to continuously switch back and forth between pages to find out if a dorm was a single or a double, for example. Additionally, the Board recommends including the gender of bathrooms on all floor plans, which will allow students to view the closest restroom and choose rooms accordingly.
The Board’s final suggestion relates to revising the shared meal plan policy. With the availability of more dining options, students should be equipped with enough information to understand which plan works best for them. Shared meal plans are one option that should be explained more thoroughly. In addition, we believe that the maximum number of shared meal plans allocated to each eating club should increase, because such plans are quite popular and allow students to stay connected to a residential college community while still experiencing an eating club. By implementing this proposal, more students in eating clubs would have the option to draw into four-year residential colleges, which are only open to those with University meal plans. Lastly, the Board encourages Housing to implement a feature on the Housing website to see the remaining number of shared meal plans available in real time, as they do with rooms.
Room draw can be quite stressful, and the Board encourages the University to consider these recommendations to make it more efficient and enjoyable.
Connor Pfeiffer ’18 recused himself from the writing of this editorial.
The Editorial Board is an independent body and decides its opinions separately from the regular staff and editors of The Daily Princetonian. The Board answers only to its Co-Chairs, the Opinion Editor, and the Editor-in-Chief. It can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.