Students’ reaction to the changes to the on-campus housing selection process, which separates and designates residence halls by class, is sure to hinge on whether they receive the housing of their choice. While some may see their system of housing entitlement based on credits withering away, the policy change is a positive move for the Community Living and Learning Center. The change recognizes the failures of last year’s housing selection and is an attempt to guarantee on-campus housing commensurate with students’ standing each year.
The new policy will divide the halls into four categories, one group for each year. Freshmen will still pick from mostly the same options with the addition of the new F Street residence hall. Sophomores however, are relegated mostly to what many consider to be lower-quality dorms and lose the option of the Dakota, which will now be designated for juniors.
The impact of the change may be minimal, considering students still will be able to pull students from other classes into their dorms. The policy, however, will change the inherently unfair status quo that allows students with a large number of AP credits to advance through housing ranks more quickly than their peers.
In addition, by creating a tiered system for housing that supposedly gets better with each year, CLLC takes away the ability for students to determine which residence halls they prefer by offering a pre-selected list rather than the current free-for-all that ensues at each housing selection. It’s important to realize, however, that compared to other schools housing at GW is high-quality. Students here often have a skewed perception of college housing because even the “worst” residence halls at GW would be considered some of the best at other schools.
For current students, the system may not seem fair since rising sophomores will now have a more limited selection of what are considered to be worse residence halls than they previously could obtain. As the new system becomes institutionalized, this policy change will benefit the campus by ensuring that each year of school brings with it the guarantee of better housing – a guarantee not available under the previous credit-based system.
Over the past two years, a large number of juniors were left without housing at the end of the selection and entered a waiting list – drawing out their housing selection process for weeks or months. At the outset, this system seems to mitigate that issue by reserving halls specifically for juniors. It will remain to be seen whether the system actually works.
The housing selection system is never going to be perfect. Someone will always be upset with their options, and GW will always have to adapt to the whims of the city zoning commission and other local government institutions regulating the placement of students. The switch to a class-based system seems like a good compromise that might upset some students now but will prove beneficial for future GW residents.
This article appeared in the January 23, 2006 issue of the Hatchet.