Following the articles I wrote about limited food options on campus, a student’s inability to retrieve ice from Benjamin’s, my dislike of our school’s logo, and a few others, I received emails in response to my opinions from various Colorado College faculty. While it is always nice to feel heard, I cannot say I actually had much else to say on some of the topics I was contacted for follow-up about.
However, as I sit among dozens of other rising juniors and seniors in the Loomis Lounge at 1:30 p.m.—while we are currently on number 5 of about 80 in a lottery system—I wish I would be contacted for follow-up on ways to improve the apartment selection process.
First, as the system stands, those eligible to live in an apartment must apply for a specific apartment layout; there are the eight-, four-, and two-person apartments, and studio-singles. Afterwards, each of those applications are assigned a number which determines their fate.
My issue with this process is the unnecessary stress produced by its crawling pace. I think the fundamentals of the process are pretty sound. While it is annoying that you must apply for specific apartments, it is the best way to ensure the greatest number of students can get an apartment. It allows students to apply for a few different types of apartments; a student could apply for a four-person in addition to an eight-person in the hopes that one apartment gives them better luck than the other.
Here is the issue: this process takes place over about two blocks. At the beginning of Block 6, the apartment application goes live. The application is due at the end of Block 6. During second week of Block 7, students gather in Loomis Lounge for a four-hour lottery process. Due to the slow and tedious nature of this process, students are left in states of deep contemplation with their lottery number and general standing regarding whether or not they will get an apartment.
For example, the three other people I am living with went into housing every single day in order to try and understand the process better. We wanted to make sure we were doing everything in our power to get an apartment. Perhaps,we are relatively insane, but figuring out living on campus is stressful. While one could argue it is only for a year, it is one-fourth of your college experience; that is pretty significant.
So, here is my proposed solution to decrease this “waiting game”: the day apartment selection forms are due should be the same day apartments get picked. While I am aware that they must screen applicants to see if they can live together depending on disciplinary history, that screening process could happen with “Term Check-In.”
Or, similar to when you apply to live in a dorm, the screening process could be one where you must pre-select your roommates online. Then, when the application form is due, there is not a week-long wait for a lottery number followed by a week long wait for the actual selection process.
I realize that the current system is put in place for a reason, and my solution is not perfect. Yet, I think the largest stressor of the whole process is how long students must wait. Choosing housing will likely be stressful no matter what, but I think if this process could occur quicker, students would not have as much time to worry, and we would not take as much of the administrations’ time by asking so many questions.
I do think it is important to note that it would also be much less stressful if students were guaranteed an apartment. That would likely be the case if juniors were granted permission to live off campus again. I am aware that is an ongoing debate, so, perhaps, improving the housing selection process one issue at a time will suffice.