Beginning next week, students seeking to switch from their residence hall to another hall must find a willing partner also seeking a room swap. While this new policy may ease the housing staff’s workload, forcing students to facilitate their own housing shift is an unwise policy.
Switching rooms is often a harrowing and emotionally difficult experience. Roommate conflicts, along with dissatisfaction with living situations, often fuel a student’s decision to change housing. At times, he or she may be desperate to move out. Combined with the burden of classes and personal concerns, having to seek a willing room change partner can add to a student’s stress when the housing staffers could better manage the process.
Students in less popular halls may find themselves at a disadvantage under the new system. A resident living in a newer building with kitchens and updated furniture would have an easier time finding a room replacement than someone in an older building lacking those amenities.
GW Housing Programs needs to devise a system to pair up students looking to switch rooms. Administrators could presumably implement such a system with relative ease and low expense – students would simply have to send an e-mail to housing staff, who would then pair up residents on a first-come, first-serve basis. This would provide an anonymous program that would simplify the process for students already stuck in an undesirable living situation.
This semester, GW enacted broad changes for its housing system – changes that this page welcomed last year. Inevitably, it will take time for the University to adapt to the consequences of the new housing policies, including a residence hall system that is near full-capacity. As administrators continue to adjust, they should remember that the decision to change rooms is a difficult one that needs to be managed by an independent third party.
It seems that the University is in a prime position to facilitate room swaps far better than students can. As such, it should consider managing student dorm changes. Doing so would decrease student stress and contribute to a higher quality of residence hall life.