Full House

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March 18, 2011

3:04 AM

While this year’s housing selection process remains mostly the same, some minor changes were made in light of the results of housing surveys taken by students last fall.

The housing selection process for the next academic year began over spring break with the release of housing lottery time slots to students. Online room selection will occur April 13th-19th.

“We want the students to have as much of a voice in how the process runs as much as we can,” Associate Director for Residence Life Katrina Pawvluk said. “We adjust room selection based on the feedback that we get.”

As a result of the survey, the only major change to the process involves students who switched rooms within the past year. These students are now allowed to stay in the same room for the following year, an option previously not allowed.

“Last year students said to me, ‘This isn’t fair’,” Pawvluk said. “We have removed from the guidelines the restrictions about room changes, so now it doesn’t matter if someone did a room change.”

Another change in the housing process for the upcoming year is the addition and reassignment of certain residence halls. Tribe Square, the College’s newest housing complex, will open in the fall and will house upperclassmen. The addition of Tribe Square may shift the selection of lodges and apartments to upperclassmen with later time slots.

“I think it will be very popular,” Pawvluk said. “It could shift, how many other things are selected, but there is no way to predict that.”

Due to an increase in the freshman class size, Jefferson Hall will now house only freshmen, while Brown Hall and Taliaferro Tower will become upperclassmen residences. The freshman class itself will increase by 50 students, with an additional 20 coming from the new joint-degree program with St. Andrews University in Scotland.

“Starting in the fall, the freshman class is going up by 70 students total,” Pawvluk said. “Building designations changed because of this increase.”

Consistent with previous practices, the next step in the housing process will be to find out who gets waitlisted.

“Opt-out is still going on, so I won’t know how many people are getting bumped until Monday,” Pawvluk said.

After establishing the wait list, students will begin the process of applying for either a block or an overcrowd, looking for off-campus housing, or waiting to be reinstated.

“If they want on-campus housing, they will get it; it just means that they will have to be patient with us,” Pawvluk said. “There has not been a year where we haven’t been able to offer housing to all of the students on the wait list who have been patient.”

For students deciding whether or not to live off campus, the William and Mary off-campus housing website (Wmoffcampus.com) is the starting point for finding a place to live. In addition, an off-campus housing fair will be held March 23.

“Some local apartment complexes will come in so if students have questions, they are still in one room,” Pawvluk said. “We are there, too, if students are trying to decide between on and off-campus housing.”
Pawvluk explained that sometimes off-campus housing is simply a better decision for certain students. She stated that this is an individual choice, however.

“It’s a different option,” Pawvluk said. “For some students, living off-campus is right for them, and for other students, it’s not. One of the challenges for off-campus housing is that there is not a lot of affordable housing near campus for students to live in.”

If students decide to move off campus, Pawvluk recommends doing research beforehand.

“Just be a wise consumer when looking at off-campus housing,” Pawvluk said. “Know what rent includes and doesn’t, how important it is for you to be actively involved in the campus community.”

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