University alters room change policy

Next week GW Housing Programs will switch its room change policy to a room swap policy for students who want new housing assignments.

Students in the past were able to move out of one housing assignment and into another as long as the second room had an unoccupied bed. Because residence halls are at full capacity, GW Housing Programs can no longer meet these requests.

“The problem with the room change process is the major assumption that there is actually a space for somebody to move into,” said Seth Weinshel, director of Housing and Occupancy Management.

“This year the University opened up with almost every bed assigned. So what we decided to do, knowing that we were going to be full, and that we still wanted to allow students to change their rooms, was to create this room swap process,” he said.

With the new process, students must first identify other students living in residence halls who also want new housing assignments. Once two individuals connect who both want to switch, GW Housing Programs processes the students’ request.

One condition to the room swap process is that students must first be eligible, based on their class, to live in a hall they wish to switch into. D.C. zoning regulations prohibit freshman and sophomores from living in halls considered off campus, like 1959 E St., City Hall or the Aston.

To ease the process of finding other students looking for new housing assignments, Weinshel said GW Housing Programs is currently working to create a “classified ad” Web site where students can post descriptions of their current assignments as well as what types of assignments they are looking for. Weinshel said he expects the Web site to be operational by Sept. 25, when the housing swap process is officially kicked off.

Freshman Alexander Ratner sees merit in the new classified ad Web site and said he wants to change his housing situation as soon as possible.

“I’m a new student living in a single on the Vern, which makes it difficult for me to meet new people, get to my classes and get to my job,” Ratner said.

Originally assigned to live in Lafayette, freshman David Herzberg was contacted through the social Web site Facebook over the summer by a then- Thurston resident asking him to switch rooms.

“My original roommates in Lafayette had requested a third kid, who contacted me and asked me to switch so that he could live with his friends,” Herzberg said. “We called housing and asked them to do the switch, and they did their job. Now I’m really happy with my room (in Thurston).”

Freshmen make up the majority of room change requests early in the semester because most upperclassmen request their roommates during housing selection, Weinshel said. He added that in comparison to last year, his office has not seen an increase in room change requests this year.

“Last year we had 130 requests for a room change in the first semester, and we were able to accommodate about 60 or 70 of them,” Weinshel said. “This year, I think every single request that is mutual we will be able to honor.”

Weinshel added that so far GW Housing Programs has received good feedback, especially from first-year students, about the new room swap process.

“We’re pretty excited about our students being able to self-identify that they want to swap, and say to our office ‘this is who I want to swap with,'” Weinshel said. “We get the emails from them, and we get it done.”

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