When the Community Living and Learning Center placed sophomore Georgia Chaconis in Strong Hall, she was disappointed.
“My roommate and I were stuck in Strong because there was no other choice than Mount Vernon,” said Chaconis, who complained about the freshman majority in the all-female residence hall, shared bathrooms, no kitchens and small rooms.
On the first day room change requests could be filed, Chaconis placed a request to move out of Strong. What surprised her was that instead of being moved into an older residence hall, Chaconis and her roommate were moved into The Dakota, a luxury-apartment style dorm two blocks away.
Sophomore Ervand Kristosturyan said he encountered a similar situation after surveying his room in the Dakota for the first time in late August.
“I go upstairs with my family and we notice that there are a lot of small bugs on the walls. The room kind of smelled very putrid,” he said. “My mom actually felt nauseous afterward.”
After Kristosturyan and his two other roommates complained to housing officials, they were offered their own townhouse on F Street across from the Smith Center.
“As sophomores, we were very surprised to be offered a townhouse,” Kristosturyan said. “We feared that they would actually separate us.”
But while the housing situations of Kristosturyan and Chaconis may seem like a common occurrence, University housing officials said upgrades are not always possible.
“Typically, requests to move into halls like New Hall, Ivory Tower and The Dakota are difficult to honor since these residence halls are at or near capacity,” wrote Andrew Sonn, director of Housing Services and Occupancy Management for CLLC, in an e-mail earlier this week.
Sonn added that most residence halls are “close to capacity right now,” and pleasing students by offering them better housing is often difficult.
“Requests are honored on a first-come, first-served basis and obviously, our ability to honor requests is constrained by the law of supply and demand,” wrote Sonn, who added that students are “sent housing offers based on the date of their request.”
Chaconis attributed her housing upgrade to the timing of her room change application.
“I think the only reason we got such a nice dorm was because we sent in the application to change extremely early, so we were probably one of the first on the list,” she said. “It was probably just luck that there was a vacancy in the Dakota.”
According to CLLC statistics, an average of 18 students change rooms every week. The openings are usually due to “cancellations, no-shows or withdrawals,” Sonn said.
This year, for the first time, students can complete their room change request online at the CLLC Web site (gwired.gwu.edu/cllc). The site, Sonn wrote, is a “customer service benefit” and allows students to request a room change through a few mouse clicks.
But to some who are currently trying to change rooms, the process is anything but efficient.
Greg Berlin, a freshman attempting to move out of his Thurston Hall quad, called the room change process “frustrating.”
“(CLLC) isn’t very helpful; you’re out of touch with the whole process,” Berlin said. “It’s a blind process, you don’t know what you’re getting into.”
But Sonn said it takes flexibility to change rooms quickly. “Students who show flexibility in the size and location of their room change requests have the best chance of getting offers,” he said.