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Editorial: improving room draw

By the time University freshmen reach their spring semester, it is assumed that the rich experiences and individuals they have encountered in the first few months of college will allow them to decide with ease where and with whom they would like to live the following year. And, although the process of choosing housing is no longer a novelty once students reach sophomore spring, finding upperclassman housing can still be daunting. Room draw policies play a major role in students’ lives each spring, and in order to create the most efficient experience possible, the Editorial Board offers three proposals: (1) institute an internal review system of dormitory conditions, (2) release statistics relating to upperclassman housing earlier to coincide with eating club decisions, and (3) arrange University-wide socials for students seeking roommates during the hectic draw process.

We first call for the institution of an annual dormitory survey to be filed by rooms’ previous residents to aid in the room selection process. Students would be asked to fill out a mandatory survey in which they review different aspects their rooms. Important conditions and experiences to note might include aspects of the floor plan that future residents might overlook, as well as unexpected disturbances. This survey would allow future residents to choose rooms that best fit their needs. Similar to how grades cannot be accessed until academic course evaluations are completed, access to the room draw form would be restricted until students submit the room survey.

Another policy change which could be implemented to the benefit of sophomores and juniors would be the release of the statistics regarding drawing in Spelman Halls at an earlier date. These statistics are currently found on Housing and Real Estate Services’ website. This year, these statistics were released on the same day as the room draw application, Feb. 13. The late statistics release date poses problems because many students base their decision to go independent or join an eating club on the availability of Spelman rooms. In the future, we would like to see the release of these statistics before the January Interclub Council deadline for Bicker and sign-in club selection.

Finally, with respect to the process of finding a roommate or hallmate, the Board proposes that more can be done in order to alleviate the stress that is associated with the search. Certain residential colleges currently have their own individual “roommate socials” late in the draw process. Currently, these meetups occur in the form of physical gatherings within residential colleges. However, the Board proposes that this be expanded to an online forum for greater convenience to those students seeking roommates. Such events enable students looking for a fourth member to their quad or a single student looking for another student with whom to share a double to meet others who are in the same predicament. The Board encourages this to be extended to all residential colleges, and for the University to publicize the event. A similar process could be implemented on behalf of upperclassmen in the same situation, organized by an entity such as the USG Student Life Committee. These meetups would occur as close to the start of the application process as possible so as to create the least stressful situation for all those involved.

Changing roommates, hallmates or entire residences can be a major nuisance to deal with for the student, residential college adviser or housing representative involved. In order to provide everyone with the most pleasant room draw experience possible, the Board encourages the University to take these three proposals to heart next spring.

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 Chair, the Opinion Editor and the Editor-In-Chief.