Virtual Room Draw

By Sam Rauschenfels | 1/13/11 11:43am

Courtesy Of Starrez.Com

Choos­ing your room may soon occur at the speed of light — or at least at the speed of Dart­mouth Se­cure.

The Of­fice of Res­i­den­tial Life de­moed a po­ten­tial on­line room draw sys­tem from com­pany Star­Rez on Tues­day in a ses­sion open to cam­pus.

“Stu­dents come in wish­ing that room draw was not an in-per­son process,” Di­rec­tor of Un­der­grad­u­ate Hous­ing Rachael Class-Giguere said at the pre­sen­ta­tion. “Many of our poli­cies wouldn’t change…but there are some things that would be dif­fer­ent.”

Al­though fewer than five stu­dents at­tended the pre­sen­ta­tion, those who came used the time well. Com­ments from the au­di­ence ranged from ques­tions about the lo­gis­tics of the pro­posal to con­cerns over the pre-reg­is­tra­tion process the new sys­tem would re­quire.

With the new sys­tem, stu­dents would be as­signed a spe­cific time to log onto the hous­ing por­tal sys­tem and make their room se­lec­tions. The time would be based on stu­dents’ as­signed pri­or­ity num­ber and the basic rules of room draw — like fill­ing all beds in a room — would re­main in place.

The por­tal it­self would in­clude a search func­tion al­low­ing stu­dents to fil­ter rooms by type, lo­ca­tion, etc., ac­cord­ing to Star­Rez rep­re­sen­ta­tive Mike Greene. The list of avail­able rooms would up­date in real time as rooms were filled, al­low­ing stu­dents to mon­i­tor the room lists con­tin­u­ously for up­dates.

Stu­dents would need to pre-reg­is­ter on­line be­fore the process be­gins. If stu­dents planned on liv­ing with one or more peo­ple, the room­mate with the high­est pri­or­ity num­ber would need to re­quest the other room­mates be­fore they were able to choose a room. This process would be sim­i­lar to “friend­ing” the po­ten­tial room­mates on Face­book, Greene said.

The por­tal sys­tem would not let stu­dents choose a room with more than one bed un­less the stu­dent had enough pre-con­firmed room­mates to fill all the beds in the room. Stu­dents could, how­ever, search within the on­line por­tal for rooms with avail­able beds, which they could elect to fill.

Con­tin­u­ing in the Face­book spirit, the por­tal could no­tify stu­dents via e-mail of pend­ing room­mate re­quests from other stu­dents, and whether or not re­quests they sent were ac­cepted or de­nied.

If con­firmed room­mates reached their as­signed room se­lec­tion time and dis­cov­ered that all the rooms large enough to house them were taken, they would have the op­tion to dis­solve the con­firmed group and form smaller room­mate groups, Greene said.

“It can all hap­pen on­line,” he said.

No final de­ci­sion has been reached as to whether ORL will im­ple­ment the new on­line por­tal, Class-Giguere said. Stu­dent input on the issue is highly val­ued, she said, adding that ORL will or­ga­nize more fo­rums for stu­dents to share their opin­ions.

“We want to have a sys­tem that is fair and eas­ier,” Class-Giguere said. “We don’t want to trade con­ve­nience for fair­ness.”

Sam Rauschenfels