New iHousing selection draws mixed student reaction

Most students received one of their top-three housing picks for next year, according University statistics.

During the inaugural run of the computerized program iHousing, 82 percent of applicants received one of their top-three housing choices, with 71 percent receiving their first choice, said Seth Weinshel, assignments director of GW Housing Programs.

“We are very happy with what the system has done,” said Weinshel, referring to new housing software iHousing.

The day did not go off without a hitch, however. Some underclass students were pulled into junior and senior housing while others failed to receive an assignment and were put on a wait list.

About a dozen students unhappy with their housing selections started an iPetition from that Web site to lobby the University to bring back the old housing system.

“Eighty-two percent of the students are happy, and we’ll obviously be hearing from the other 18 percent,” Weinshel said. “We are willing to work with every student.”

Of the more than 3,000 requests, less than 250 roommate requests were not granted.

Sophomore Andrea Binner was one of the students who did not get the roommates she requested. Binner and two of her perspective roommates were placed in separate triples in the same building.

“I felt like there should have been numbers or bullet points. Anything (to make the process more clear),” said sophomore Andrea Binner.

“We were lost, so we asked a housing official for help,” Binner said, referring to her requested roommates. “We filled out the application with the help of a staff member and had them guide us through it.”

GW Housing Programs staff members were stationed in the lobbies of eight halls Tuesday morning to field student questions about the housing process and the assignments.

The waiting list for rising sophomores is down 55 percent from last year and Weinshel said he is confident that the University will place most of those students by the end of this academic year. GW is only required by D.C. law to provide freshmen and sophomores on campus housing.

Six hundred rising juniors and seniors did not receive a housing assignment and will automatically be put on a waiting list.

Ivory Tower doubles and any single with a kitchen and bathroom were the most popular requests of rising seniors, Weinshel said. Rising juniors preferred New Hall and Dakota doubles, and rising sophomores most frequently chose West End quads and doubles in JBKO, Munson and West End.

The room swap system will open March 29 for students not content with their housing choices. The system will allow students to create an account stating their room assignment. Once this step is completed, account-holders can view where other students want to move out of and find a direct swap with another student.

Residential Housing Association President Haley Haldeman, a junior, said she was pleased with the results of the iHousing process.

“I think the iHousing system has proven its worth, particularly in regards to avoiding the confusion that freshmen and sophomores experienced last year,” Haldeman said.

Sophomore Jodie Ash got her first choice, a quad in Dakota, but said she was not satisfied with the new iHousing system.

“I liked last year better because I don’t like the idea of having to wait,” Ash said, referring to the time between applying and the announcement of housing assignments. “I liked knowing where you stood. You had a number … you were emotionally prepared.”

Freshman Kinshasa Fowlkes was placed in Potomac House after requesting four other buildings. She wanted a building with a kitchen because sophomores are allotted less money on GWorlds than freshmen.

“The process itself was easy but the outcome wasn’t that great,” Fowlkes said. “There are no kitchens (in Potomac House).

Fowlkes was also not happy with the size of the rooms in Potomac House. “It seems that sophomores should get bigger rooms,” she said.

Juniors Bonnie Rubin and Rachel Beloff are returning to campus housing after spending junior year in a Statesman apartment. “It was very confusing at first,” Rubin said of the iHousing process.

“Then we talked to someone from housing and realized that it benefited us,” Beloff said. Living off campus was “a lot harder than we thought it would be,” she said.

Kadie Del Sordo, a freshman who lives in a Fulbright quad, was assigned a smaller quad in the same building for next year.

“I’d rather be on the waiting list than live in Fulbright (again),” said Del Sordo.

“We are going to live in the same exact building with the same people,” said Marcia Newbert, one of Del Sordo’s roommates. “How does that promote diversity?”

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