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As we enter room draw and draw times are released, many will find that their draw time(s) are at inconvenient hours, specifically from 9 a.m. through 7 p.m. on weekdays. During these hours, most students will either be in lecture, lab, precept, or another prior commitment, creating a high likelihood of conflict. Facing this inconvenience, many students feel forced to get proxies to cover for them during their draw time. A proxy is another University student who can select a room for you during your designated draw time. Finding a proxy can be inconvenient and stressful, and it is only necessary because of the larger issue of room draw taking place during the middle of the week. But as I will show, this nuisance can be prevented through simple policy changes. 

One of the many problems with having to find a proxy is that a student may not even be able to find one if their draw time is too close to when the University releases the draw time lists. Draw times were released the evening of April 10, meaning some students only had one night before their draw time the next day on April 11. This leaves relatively little time for actually finding another student who will be available to cover for you while you are at a prior commitment. Furthermore, if you have a draw time that is at a relatively busy part of the day for most other students, it will be even harder to find someone who is free to cover for you. This, combined with having a relatively early draw time in April, could result in someone being unable to select a room at their own draw time and having to wait until the prior commitment is over.

If you are successful in finding an available proxy, it may be difficult to ensure the proxy fully understands your room preferences. It is not feasible to rank every single room on campus from best to worst, so you are going to have to tell your proxy all the various requests you have for a room, such as building, floor, proximity to a bathroom, square footage, and others relating to amenities. If most rooms you would have liked are taken, your proxy may have to guess at your preferences, potentially putting you in a room you would not have chosen.

In light of all of these flaws of the proxy system, several changes must be made to the room draw system. While the need for proxies will never be totally fixed, reforms could reduce the number of students who might end up needing proxies.

Not only do students struggle finding proxies, but having to use a proxy may result in a worse room than if you could have picked a room yourself. To fix this problem, we need to ensure that as few students as possible actually have to resort to getting a proxy. If you look at Housing and Real Estate Services’ Undergraduate Room Draw Calendar for 2018, you will quickly notice that all draw times take place on weekdays, during the workday while many students have other commitments. 

The solution, then, is obvious. Students would be less likely to have scheduling conflicts with their draw times if they were all on weekends, as well as on weekdays at times when most students do not have classes, such as the morning or evening. By eliminating draw times in the middle of weekdays, fewer students will have conflicts, and fewer students will require proxies. 

Granted, there are evening labs, precepts and other responsibilities that students may have, but by scheduling draw times when more students are free, it will give those who do need proxies a better chance of finding one. While these proposed changes may make room draw last longer, this could easily be accounted for by starting it earlier in the spring semester. 

If the list of draw times is released too close to your draw time, you may not have the time to actually find a proxy. If your draw time is in the middle of a weekday, you may simply not know anyone who is free to cover for you. Even if you are fortunate enough to find a proxy, they may very well draw a room that you wouldn’t have chosen for yourself. We will only be able to solve this problem when the University has all draw times during hours and days of the week when most students are free. 

Hunter Campbell is a sophomore from East Arlington, Vt. He can be reached at hunterc@princeton.edu.

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