What’s Up With Room Draw?
"Room Draw is fast approaching. The stressful day can cause tensions to run high. But does it have to be this way?"
April 14, 2016
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On Sunday April 10, students will line up in the basement of Baldwin Wallace’s Strosacker Union to begin to the process known as “room draw.” Due to its archaic nature, it has led to major complaints from the students that residence life is left struggling to address without the means to address them.
The process of “room draw” starts long before the actual day. There are several groups who are allotted rooms and therefore, the people that are a part of these groups do not have to go through the day of “room draw.” Greek life, the honors community, the living-learning communities of STEM and Sophomore Year Experience go through room draw before the actual day of room draw.
“All of those are decided ahead of time and of course we have plenty of vacancies through the campus that are available left in April,” said Bob Beyer, the Associate Director of Resident Life.
Beyer explained further, “Students don’t have to do anything except pay their room deposit before they come…At that point in time students come, choose whatever rooms are available. Otherwise, we have to randomly match them up with someone if it’s a specific place they want to live in.”
Every single person on campus, regardless of whether or not if he/she is a senior, since residence life does not know his/her plans for the coming year, receives a room draw card.
“Unfortunately, it’s somewhat archaic because it’s a lot of paper and pencil, but it’s not something we love to do. In order to do what we want to do it would cost an incredible amount of money,” added Beyer.
What residence life does want to do is bring the entirety of the process online. Instead of waiting in the basement of the union for hours, a person could instead log in to a system and sign up for housing there.
“Since I’ve started here [8 years] we have wanted to do it online and we just haven’t to afford the amount of money it takes…the good thing is we have improved a couple of the processes by having online applications that we didn’t have when I started here,” explained Beyer.
As Beyer puts it, the ideal online process would also have “a profile of the student to see if you do match, if it is a random person that you want to live with so that the two of you can see if you have similar interests.”
Senior psychology and neuroscience double major Lauren Fredriksen has lived on campus for four years, with two of those years spent in the campus apartments. Her experience with the apartments is where many of her complaints stem.
“I’ve had the same roommate [for all four years] and in that sense the process has been very nice, but the overall process is very confusing for I think everyone involved, apartment draw included. I’m not quite sure, even after doing it two times, what the criteria is for the order of it or anything. All of us were becoming seniors and we were so far at the end so that has been frustrating and stressful too. With apartment draw they have less apartments then they have apartments to line up for, so if you’re near the end and all the people show up that should, then you’re not getting an apartment,” said Fredriksen.
Beyer said about apartment draw, “People do apply. I mean whoever can apply, can apply. It’s just we have to see how they get through. Sometimes we do apartment draw and not all the groups decide that they want to go, some don’t show up and then we just give it to the next person who applies.”
Fredriksen, however, was less worried about not getting an apartment and more worried about being at the end of room draw if she did not get an apartment.
“And if you don’t get an apartment then you’re put last in room draw, which in my mind doesn’t make sense, why should a senior with more credits than everyone else be put last in room draw? We were worried we wouldn’t get an apartment and if we didn’t, where would we live? There was no other option for us really. So that was confusing and annoying,” explained Fredriksen
Fredriksen also had an idea for how students could meet other students if they did not already have a roommate the day of room draw.
She explained, “I think there should be a thing where if you don’t have a roommate come early and have like a mingle session and see if you match up. I don’t know if it leads to the best relationships if you just see a name and sign your name next to that name.”
The main thing Beyer wants to stress to every student is that they are trying to do everything they can over in residence life, but they have limitations especially in the area of funding.
“We have so many different room types on campus, but some need more enhancements than others. Some are really great rooms. We have a lot that are probably like right in the middle and where students typically end up. They are good, but I’d hope they would be more what students would like. And also having an online process would make things easier for everyone,” concluded Beyer.